Thursday, November 26, 2015

IATA to install ticket financial system in Cuba

IATA to install ticket financial system in Cuba
Nov 25, 2015 Karen Walker

IATA plans to start operating a Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP)
banking system in Cuba in 2016, helping to facilitate ticket
transactions between airlines and travel agents.

The BSP system would be an important step in the gradual opening up of
Cuba's travel and tourism business as relations between Cuba and the US
thaw. Ultimately, a bilateral air agreement is expected to be formed,
enabling direct scheduled air links between the two countries.

Although no timing has been set for a bilateral, IATA DG Tony Tyler
announced last week during a visit to Havana the plan to operate a BSP
system in Cuba next year. He also pledged the association's support and
expertise as the country adapts its aviation infrastructure to cope with
the anticipated large increase in air traffic and passengers.

Tyler's visit also marked the 70th anniversary of IATA, which was
created in Havana at a meeting in the Hotel Nacional, where he hosted a
celebratory dinner with the CEO of Cubana, the US and Canadian
ambassadors to Cuba and the head of Cuba's civil aviation authority.

IATA's BSP system is a critical enabler for airlines, facilitating
financial transactions through travel agents via a standardized
agreement and settlement mechanism.

Cuba we has four accredited agents with over 100 branches across the
country, but no BSP system.

"Direct scheduled air links are a much anticipated outcome of the
thawing of relations between the US and Cuba. That will certainly create
opportunities for growth. Establishing an IATA BSP in Cuba will be an
important facilitator for growth in outbound ticket sales," Tyler said
at a press conference in the Hotel Nacional.

"Cuba's air transport industry has tremendous potential. Even in my
brief visit, I have come to realize that aviation could be contributing
much more to Cuba. Look at tourism. Cuba welcomed a record 3 million
tourists in 2014. But the Dominican Republic attracted 5 million. They
are both amazing countries, but even just looking at Cuba's size
compared to the Dominican Republic indicates that it should be able to
accommodate a much larger tourism industry than it does today."

Tyler said that IATA estimates there were about 300,000 departures from
Cuba in 2014—outbound travel—a relatively small number for a country
with over 11 million people.

"We did a projection to 2034 and conservatively see the potential for
one in four Cubans to be traveling by air at that time. Even if the
population were steady—an obviously unrealistic expectation—that would
see a market of 10 times the size of today in less than two decades,"
Tyler said.

Tyler also pledged that IATA will assist Cuba as it tackles the major
airport terminal and airfield upgrades that will be needed to cope with
the increase in air and passenger traffic.

"IATA is not in the business of building or upgrading airports. But we
do help airports and governments plan infrastructure developments. By
bringing deep knowledge of airline and passenger needs we can ensure
that the infrastructure investments deliver maximum benefit," Tyler noted.

"Cuba has the potential to leapfrog to become a model in the region for
modern air transport infrastructure."

Source: IATA to install ticket financial system in Cuba | IT &
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