Main IATA navigation

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. 

Windows XP - End of Life

During the CUWG meeting in Montreal in December 2017, The Common Use Working Group agreed that common use standards used for passenger processing will not be supported on systems using the Windows XP operating system.

We invite you to read the Common Use Windows XP- End of life document.

It is urgent that all parties migrate systems from Windows XP to a current supported operating system, such as Windows 7 to maintain flight operations at airports, and to reduce risks and costs of security breaches.

CUSS version 1.2 End of Life

During the CUWG meeting in Montreal in June 2017, The Common Use Working Group decided to terminate the CUSS version 1.2 for use in airport and airline environments.

This decision was made for a diverse number of reasons. We invite you to read the CUSS version 1.2 End of Life by December 2017 document (pdf) for more information.

Airlines and airports are now urged to start the migration to the latest CUSS v1.4.

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 7th Edition

The BCBP group of experts updated the BCBP Implementation Guide 7th Edition reflecting the latest changes to Resolution 792 - Version 7 that will become effective on 1st June 2018. Section 2.2.4 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 7 is summarized below:

  • Bar Code on Printed Boarding Pass the default Bar Code presented on printed boarding pass is a 2-dimensional Bar Code in PDF417 standard containing a structure data message (SDM), On the request from the Airlines version 7 extend the standards to allow Aztec, Datamatrix or QR code formats on printed boarding pass those formats are currently used on Electronic (Mobile) Boarding Pass only. 
  • Field 23 (Baggage Tag License Plate Number (s)): Last 3 digits have been changed to follow RESO 740/RP1745 where 001= 1 bag, 002= 2 bags, 007= 7 on version 6th of RESO 792,  000=1 bag. 
  • Field 6 (Field Size of variable size field): There was a change in the Implementation Guide where the previous version stated: Items 8 to 118, Plus Item 4, and now Size of data used within the subsequent conditional and airline individual fields (items 8 to 254, plus item 4) in ASCII-printed hexadecimal. If not used, enter "00." 
  • Field 10 (Field Size of following structured message - unique): There was a change in the Implementation Guide where the previous version stated: Items 15 to 23 the updated version: Size of data used within the subsequent fields (items 15 to 32), in ASCII-printed hexadecimal. If not used, enter "00." Should only count for the length of the conditional data identified as unique. In other words, it is the sum of the length of items 15, 12, 14, 22, 16, 21, 23, 31 and 32."

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.

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


Our mission is to represent, lead and serve the airline industry

Additional information