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Wednesday, Mar 31, 2004

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IBS develops passenger service system

Vinson Kurian

Thiruvananthapuram , March 30

THE World Wide Web should not pose a threat to the travel industry so long as the latter is willing to reinvent its role and add value to both airlines and customers.

Close on the heels of finalising a global marketing initiative for the integrated, multi-hosting passenger service system (PSS) from IBS Software, the Chairman and Managing Director, Mr V.K. Mathews, told Business Line that the airline (the supplier) and the traveller (the customer) are the main beneficiaries of the PSS, christened iRes.

It will help airline take its products and services directly to the customer, bypassing intermediaries.

IBS has already announced a tie-up with Cendant TDS for global marketing of iRes. Cendant owns and offers most of the value-added services, and iRes offers itself as a complementing feature.

Travel agents can access the system directly or they can access it through global distribution services (GDS) systems such as Galileo, Amadeus or Sabre as they do today. At the back-end, iRes will connect, on a host-to-host mode, to other industry systems dealing in black-listed tickets, credit cards, authorisation, hotel reservations, car hire, travel information and industry fares.

Involving customers in the service offering of the airline is the capability that iRes brings to the market. It does not, however, make travel agent's role redundant unless the airlines would like to do so, by promoting direct sales, Mr Mathews said.

On the prospects of the establishment of wireless and broadband connectivity to travel agents, Mr Mathews said iRes supports all kinds of connectivity and user interfaces. The customer presentation layers include standard browser interfaces, personal digital assistants (PDAs), wireless application protocol (WAP) devices, hand-helds and scanners.

iRes will be able to bring down the airline cost of operations in two areas viz., selling and operations. In the selling process, airlines should be able to save about 5 per cent of ticket costs (agency fee) plus the GDS fee of $3.

In operating, by being able to outsource many functions, airline should be able to reduce about 30-40 per cent of the cost of such outsourced functions. Therefore, the overall cost reduction would depend on how much outsourcing the airline would be doing.

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