The application of Electronic Miscellaneous Document (EMD) to interline partnerships means that participating airlines can now facilitate payment for and delivery of ancillary services across their partnerships and alliances.
Amadeus estimates that up to 20% of air bookings made through its system are the result of interline partnerships, representing a huge opportunity for airlines to increase revenues through the sale of ancillary services via their partner carriers.
In addition, EMDs remove the need for paper documents to account for the sale of ancillary services, which IATA believes will save the industry US$0.9 billion annually.
Interline EMD processing between Finnair and Egypt Air means the carriers’ customers can now buy ancillary services across interline flights, safe in the knowledge that the operating airline will know the service has been purchased.
Previously, the only way the operating airline would know a customer had purchased an ancillary service, such as extra baggage allowance, was through a paper document provided by the traveller at the airport.
Julia Sattel, Amadeus VP airline IT, said research estimated ancillary services were worth over US$35 billion to airlines in 2011, with ancillary services contributing upwards of 20% of total revenues for some carriers.
"A well implemented ancillary services strategy is now the difference between reaching profitability and incurring a loss for a large number of airlines," she added.
Petteri Skaffari, Finnair’s head of customer experience and sales applications shared the view that ancillary services are critical to airline profitability. "To maintain our focus on service excellence we must ensure that when we sell ancillary services they are delivered in the way the customer expects."
Yasser EL Ramly, Egypt Air VP commercial, Egypt Air noted that with the interline EMD its customers “will absolutely notice the difference - the improved efficiency and more convenient service are principal and tangible benefits, whilst the EMD will also save on time.”
Fifty-six airlines have contracted Amadeus’ EMD server to enable the provision of EMDs in order to facilitate the sale of ancillary services. To date, 22 carriers have implemented Amadeus’s EMD server resulting in 4,098,842 EMDs processed during 2011 and IATA states that 47 are currently EMD compliant.