Building the Future
A package of work developed under the IATA Distribution Advisory Council and known as the Future of Interline program, has the objective to explore changes to the Multilateral Interline Framework. This includes the development of a new Standard Retailer and Supplier Interline Agreement (SRSIA), as well as of standards based around offer and order capabilities and real-time request and response data exchange, enabling carriers to do business with new partners that cannot support legacy interline processes.
The first version of the SRSIA framework has been developed by the IATA Interline Group during 2019 pending further revision and updates for presentation to the Passenger Standards Conference for adoption.
More information on the discussions held at industry level about the Future of Interline program is available in this IATA White Paper (pdf) that talks about a new model for seamless customer journeys.
Retailers and Suppliers
The Standard Retailer and Supplier Interline Agreement seeks to move away from ticketing concepts of validating carrier and participating carrier, and away from scheduling concepts or marketing and operating carrier concepts. The framework introduces the concept of a Retailer and a Supplier. The Retailer initiates a relationship with a customer at the time of the customer making a shopping request, and provides products and services to a customer either directly or by engaging suppliers. These concepts are generic, and better support an open framework where the products and services of many different suppliers can be combined into an offer for a customer.
SRSIA and/or MITA?
SRSIA will exist in parallel with the existing Multilateral Interline Traffic Agreement (MITA).
IATA member ailrines may wish to form an interline relationship under the MITA, or under the SRSIA, or under any other bilateral agreement, just as they do today.
The key differences of the SRSIA are:
- The SRSIA supports a more generic "retailer" and "supplier" relationship
- The SRSIA more comprehensively describes business processes supported by Offer and Order Management capabilities (as described by the NDC and ONE Order programs)
- The SRSIA can be used to support a common understanding of interlining between IATA member airlines using IATA standard ticketing processes, and airlines that do not use IATA standard ticketing processes
- The SRSIA introduces more flexibility, acknowledging that while there are some fundamental aspects of every interline relationship, there are also many commercial and procedural aspects that will differ from partner to partner
The SRSIA will be structured around a main agreement (describing fundamental elements of the agreement, and foundation obligations of each party) and then a series of annexes, where parties can select options based on their own business requirements. Having pre-defined options provides a common structure and common set of language. The parties may also add additional Annexes by mutual agreement.
Unlike the existing MITA, execution of the agreement will not require notification to IATA, and parties or concurrences will not be published by IATA. The SRSIA is designed to operate in an environment where Retailers are in control of constructing their Offers, includes integrating content from Suppliers. Because a third party does not construct each Offer or itinerary independently, it is not necessary for concurrences to be published externally.