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Common Use News

Common Use Standards 

This news keeps you updated on the latest information from the Common Use Working Group activities or on any information that supports the activities of this group.

The information is pertinent to airline CIOs and to anyone already involved or interested in the Common Use activities. 

Card payment at common use positions

There is an increasing demand for guidance on what are the desirable components of a solution that would support the 'multi-merchants/multi-acquirers' business model of common use positions at airports which are shared by several airlines.

A business requirements document (pdf) was put together providing recommendations that airports and airlines should consider when drawing up their own business requirements. These business requirements do not recommend any technology or provider and only seek to establish the key components of an effective industry card payment for this specific environment.

BCBP Implementation Guide 5th Edition

The BCBP group of experts updated the BCBP Implementation Guide 5th Edition reflecting the latest changes to Resolution 792 - Version 6 that will become effective on 1st June 2016. Section 4.2 provides additional information and examples related to certain data elements contained in the standard for implementation purposes. The list of changes to Resolution 792 - Version 6 is summarized below:

  • Fiel​d 253 (Electronic Ticket Indicator): A new value 'L' was added to distinguish passengers traveling on a ticketless product versus an electronic ticket as there are a lot more airlines and passengers going towards ticketless and not only e-ticket.
  • Field 9 (Version Number): The version number was changed from version 5 to version 6 to reflect the latest changes made and approved by the Joint Passenger Services Conference (JPSC) in October 2015.
  • Field 12 (Source of Check-In): A new value 'A' was added for "Automated check-in" as some airlines wanted to be able to differentiate it from other channels for tracking purposes.
  • Field 18 (Selectee Indicator): A new value '3' was added for "known passenger". This change was the result of several discussions with TSA. A note was added in the glossary of terms under attachment 'C' for field 18 mentioning that "this is a mandatory field when US travel is involved".
  • Attachment 'B': A new example called "Example 6" was added to illustrate how to calculate fields 6, 10 and 17 when the Non Consecutive Baggage Tag Licence Place Number fields (items 31 and 32) are filled in.
  • Attachment 'C': A new table was added showing changes made between versions 5 and 6. 

 BCBP Implementation Guide 5th Edition (pdf)

Learn about the latest CUPPS features

Although CUPPS already allows the use of mobile devices such as tablets on Windows 8.1, Wi-Fi networks and even remote access for airlines to airport peripherals, the following new features are now included in the new CUPPS 1.04 specification that was finalized in December 2014:

  • It is now possible to use CUPPS with a baggage drop device that operates in a common use environment. The baggage drop device has the status of "Defined, Required" in the latest CUPPS 1.04 specification and can be implemented based on AEA 2012
  • A snapshot reader device is also defined and allows taking snapshot photos on a conveyor belt in the case of a baggage drop device or any other area as required. It can also return a picture from any full page scanner used for passports or biometric devices
  • Self boarding gates are now "Defined, Required" in CUPPS instead of being just optional
  • An electronic payment device simply allows full bi-directional data exchange of any nature to facilitate future integration with a generic payment module
  • Simulated hardware can now be used to facilitate platform compliance for complex devices such as baggage drop and electronic payment

While new features were added, part of the work concentrated on streamlining the existing specification. For example, a simpler way has been put in place for airlines to do host printing. Other devices such as beep and display devices were marked as obsolete as they are no longer used as separate devices. Certain hardware requirements were also modified to ease various cloud and virtualized deployments.

CUPPS RFP guidance document

Airports, airlines and consultants preparing a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the supply of Common Use Passenger Processing Systems (CUPPS) are advised to take into account the considerations contained in the CUPPS RFP guidance document (pdf).

What it means for an airport to have CUPPS

The Common Use Passenger Processing Systems (CUPPS) Recommended Practice describes the range of services, specifications, and standards enacted to enable multiple airlines, service providers, or other users to share physical check-in or gate podium positions whether simultaneously or consecutively. The CUPPS RP has broad industry support and has been adopted by IATA, A4A and ACI.

As there has been much confusion about the generic term "CUPPS ready", industry experts within the Common Use Working Group (CUWG) established a set of criteria to clarify what it means for an airport to have CUPPS and be able to rollout airlines CUPPS certified applications at any time.

A site is considered "CUPPS ready" if the following criteria are fulfilled:

  • The platform is certified on a valid version of the CUPPS Technical Specification
  • The CUPPS implementation includes appropriate hardware/software/firmware/peripheral support as defined in the CUPPS Technical Specification
  • Appropriate CUPPS platform administration support is available
  • The CUPPS platform supplier completes all necessary CUPPS workstation/database/device configurations
  • Record the full version, date and XSD version of the CUPPS platform implemented 

Ensuring that an implementation is "CUPPS ready" will allow applications certified to the appropriate CUPPS level to be deployed without requiring changes to hardware, software or platform.

A growing number of airports are opting for CUPPS as it reduces cost for both airlines and airports by simplifying the procurement, installation, support and ongoing maintenance of vital passenger processing and operations. Additionally, it facilitates an airport's transition to common use.

Common Use vision

The whole passenger process has changed and continues to evolve. There is now pressure on airport automation with new ways of servicing the customer (e.g. web, kiosk, mobile phone or fully automated check-in channels). At the same time, there is a need to maintain infrastructure to provide services in a traditional way for customers who want it. This is challenging and very expensive to do. 

The CUWG developed the following vision in order to have a more flexible infrastructure that can do both without doubling the costs.

By 2020, common use will provide flexibility of choice to deploy services based on interfaces adhering to industry standards.

These interfaces will range from Web Services, Cloud computing and mobile devices through to standard desktop offerings.

Whether platforms are physical or virtual, there will be standard interfaces presented to the application so that the concept, first introduced by CUPPS and CUSS, of 'certify on one platform, run on many' will remain as a core principle.

IATA's perspective on common use standards

In common use/shared systems environments IATA recommends the adoption of Recommended Practice RP1706c on CUSS, RP1797 on CUPPS and RP1741 on standardized data exchange supporting common use self-service bag drop through the use of web services technology. These three common use industry standards effectively support the air transport industry's business strategies and needs.

Consequently, it is recommended that as new contracts are negotiated platform operators (such as airports or Common Local User Boards - CLUBS) request CUSS and CUPPS platforms for their common use environment.

CUPPS success story at London Heathrow

The London Heathrow AOC drove a project to replace CUTE (Common Use Technical Equipment) at LHR with Common Use Passenger Processing Systems (CUPPS) that delivered its first major success with the implementation onto five check-in desks in T4 zone A on 10 September 2014.

The London Heathrow AOC mentions that "CUPPS provides airlines with greater abilities to use more advanced features such as checking-in under multiple hosts, more reliable bar code reading and, if the airline chooses, the opportunity to scan images such as visas and identity cards.


CUPPS also provides smoother certification of airline applications and better integration with other passenger automation systems such as self-boarding gates and self-bag drops.

And all this can be achieved with a user interface that is already very familiar to the agent."

For more information on this project, please contact the London Heathrow AOC's project manager (Philip Holt on email: pholt@airtsa.net). 

A few important reminders about CUSS 1.3

As of April 2014, Windows XP and Internet Explorer (IE) 6 are no longer supported by Microsoft. Are your kiosks, applications and vendors ready for Windows 7? Do you have an upgrade plan in place?

The CUSS 1.3 specification does not itself require Windows 7, but the shift away from Windows XP means it is a good opportunity to upgrade to CUSS 1.3 and Windows 7 at the same time.

CUSS 1.3 and Windows 7 provide new and improved technologies to run CUSS applications, such as updated Java, Flash and an option to run your application in IE8 or, as many airlines have requested, in Google Chrome. The new version of CUSS also helps with new features regarding application updates and version management.

Consequently, with the industry move to Windows 7, CUSS 1.2 application providers should consider testing their applications against CUSS 1.3 mandated technologies and ultimately certify on CUSS 1.3 platform if they are planning to run their applications on CUSS 1.3 kiosks. CUSS 1.3 may also allow your application design to take advantage of CSS3, HTML5, or other new capabilities not available in CUSS 1.2. However, even if you are not planning any changes, it is still important to check your application as CUSS 1.3 includes new tools and technologies versions which your application will be running on once deployed to a CUSS 1.3 kiosk.

The airline industry is also working together to help improve security and compliance of payment at kiosks. Starting with the CUSS Form of Identification Data (FOID) Addendum in 2011, and now with a new management payment programming interface in CUSS 1.3, kiosks are a few steps closer to helping you provide secure and compliance payment.

There is more to payment compliance and security than just the new features of CUSS 1.3. With a move to EMV in all markets worldwide by 2015, it is now more important than ever to understand how changes in kiosk payment can impact your compliance and reduce your risk.

CUSS 1.3 now offers more flexibility and capability for writing more modern applications, particular within Google Chrome. However, the latest version of CUSS still has to impose some restrictions to ensure everyone running CUSS shares a consistent and predictable environment.

Input from airlines, airports and vendors is vital to ensure CUSS and other common use standards meet the needs of the industry. For more information on CUSS, Common Use and the move to Windows 7, please join the Common Use Working Group by registering to the IATA PEMG Extranet.

U.S. DOT rule on kiosk accessibility

"" Airlines, airports and vendors need to be aware of the U.S. DOT final rule on kiosk accessibility that became effective on 12 December 2013.

The rule requires that:

  • U.S. and foreign airlines must ensure that all proprietary and common use kiosks installed on or after December 12, 2016 that they own, lease or control at U.S. airports with 10,000 or more annual enplanements meet detailed accessibility design standards until a total of at least 25% of each type of the kiosk provided at each location in the airport meet these standards. At least 25% of kiosks in each location at a U.S. airport must be accessible by December 12, 2022.
  • U.S. and foreign airlines in addition to U.S. airports must ensure that accessible kiosks are visually and tactilely identifiable and maintained in working condition
  • U.S. and foreign airlines must give priority access to accessible kiosks to passengers with disabilities
  • U.S. and foreign airlines must provide equivalent service to passengers who cannot use accessible kiosks that airlines own, lease or control due to disability

The U.S. DOT will be conducting onsite inspections to see that the rule has been enforced appropriately.

Whilst the IATA Common Use Working Group will update the CUSS standard and technical specifications to ensure the capability is available to the industry, airlines need to start working now on a compliance plan in order to be able to document all the efforts made to comply with this rule.

For information, the rule also covers two other elements of airline website accessibility and wheelchair stowage that are not related to common use activities.

View the official information on the U.S. DOT rule


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