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IATA and UIC join forces to develop a multimodal air-rail ticketing system

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On 30 January, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the International Union of Railways (UIC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). Represented by Alexandre De Juniac, CEO of IATA and François Davenne, Director General of IUC, this new partnership aims to meet the new requirements of passengers. Indeed, in the face of the “flygskam” (“shame of flying”, ) and the actions carried out in favour of environmental protection, this protocol will promote multimodal air-train travel, via a centralized ticketing system. Focus on this first step towards Mobility as a Service (MaaS) in the tourism industry!

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The union of two pillars of travel

On the one hand, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which since 1945 has represented a total of 290 airlines in more than 120 countries. Ensuring for 82% of total air traffic, it will reach 4.54 billion passengers in 2019. And on the other, the International Union of Railways (UIC), with 200 international members. Only in 2017, it will have more than 2.7 million pax. With the aim of promoting multimodality, these two heavyweights in the tourism/travel market have decided to join forces setting up data exchange standards, and the intellectual property rights of their companies.

The promotion of an intermodal service

As stated by Alexandre De Juniac, “As customers increasingly seek sustainable travel solutions, it is important that suppliers work together to facilitate passenger transit from one mode to another and ensure adequate passenger information”. Indeed, this new protocol is an “important step towards strengthening this activity”. The multiple areas explored will include Trip planning, booking and ticketing. Moreover, it adds IATA coding, validation and registration control, accounting, recording and not forgetting the legal aspects.

The basic premise of Mobility as a Service (MaaS)

Within the framework established by the Memorandum of Understanding, IUC and IATA will thus seize the opportunity offered by the ticket distribution processes, responding to the supply and demand of their mobility services. As underlined by IATA’s CEO, “the objective is to promote innovation and the development of activities of common interest, mainly in the field of ticketing”. For François Davenne, this objective translates into “a single ticket for rail and air travel, allowing them to choose the best mode of transport, optimising their journey and their carbon footprint”. A single ticket, a reservation in a single payment, making these services move towards Mobility as a Service (MaaS) !

This concept is not new, but is currently causing a revolution in the mobility sector. Recently, on the French side, Blablabus and Air France have joined forces to offer an intermodal package. One of the biggest challenges for IATA and IUC is the implementation of a centralized ticketing system. It must be both innovative and secure. As stated by the IUC Director General, the current step is “to define tomorrow’s digital standards for ticketing applications : working on pre-determined interfaces from the design phase is an exciting prospect. » To go further, don’t hesitate to read our case study How can MaaS improve the travel experience?

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