Home-made ticket sys­tem for air­lines ready for take off

China Daily (Canada) - - BUSINESS - By ZHU WENQIAN zhuwen­qian@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Bei­jing-based China Trav­elSky Hold­ing Co, a State-owned avi­a­tion in­for­ma­tion provider, plans to ex­pand its re­search and de­vel­op­ment ef­forts so as to in­no­vate and up­grade its elec­tronic ticket sys­tem, the first such China-made soft­ware.

Flag car­rier Air China Ltd trans­ferred to the com­pletely home­de­vel­oped Trav­elSky sys­tem in April. Bar­ring a few, most other do­mes­tic air­lines also use it now, sav­ing more than 60 per­cent of costs that im­ported soft­ware en­tails.

Trav­elSky has en­sured safe cus­tody of pas­sen­ger, flight and air­line data col­lected so far.

Trav­elSky’s R&D in­vest­ments for the sys­tem now ac­count for more than 35 per­cent of its to­tal costs.

“For ev­ery flight ticket that is sold through our e-ticket sys­tem, we charge only one-sixth of com­mis­sion charged by for­eign e-ticket sys­tems,” said Huang Yuan­chang, chair­man of the board of su­per­vi­sors at Trav­elSky.

“Our av­er­age profit mar­gin is 35 per­cent to 40 per­cent, and this is the best per­for­mance com­pared with the peers glob­ally.”

In 2001, the China Civil Com­puter and In­for­ma­tion Cen­ter brought all air­line com­pa­nies to­gether to es­tab­lish Trav­elSky Tech­nol­ogy Ltd, to pro­vide them with ac­cu­rate and au­then­tic in­for­ma­tion on air­ports and flights.

It is China’s main e-ticket sys­tem and the world’s third-largest in terms of busi­ness-han­dling ca­pac­ity. A pas­sen­ger can search flight in­for­ma­tion, buy tick­ets, change or can­cel flight reser­va­tions, and mod­ify re­marks.

Last year, Trav­elSky net­ted sales rev­enues worth 5.5 bil­lion yuan ($825 mil­lion) and gen­er­ated prof­its of more than 2 bil­lion yuan, the com­pany said. Sales have surged in re­cent years as the Chi­nese have been over­come by wan­der­lust of late.

The surge will con­tinue in the next decade as China’s emerg­ing mid­dle class takes to the skies. Pas­sen­gers will in­crease by three­fold, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by global con­sult­ing firm McKin­sey & Co.

Peng Ming­tian, deputy chief en­gi­neer of the R&D cen­ter at Trav­elSky, said: “At the mo­ment, the 24x7 tick­et­ing soft­ware is tak­ing a lot of pres­sure. If the backup sys­tem mal­func­tions or stops for what­ever rea­son, nearly all do­mes­tic air­lines will face prob­lems.

“Our big­gest chal­lenge, there­fore, is to pre-empt prob­lems be­cause any prob­lems would erode cus­tomers’ con­fi­dence, which would make it dif­fi­cult to pro­mote the sys­tem again. We need to en­sure its safe op­er­a­tion even as we up­grade it.”

More than a decade ago, Trav­elSky started tri­als of the soft­ware. It also de­vel­oped China’s first self-check-in sys­tem at air­ports.

Back in 2003 and 2004, ma­jor air­lines started us­ing elec­tronic sys­tems to sell tick­ets on­line.

JIANG XIN / FOR CHINA DAILY

Pas­sen­gers use the self-ser­vice board­ing sys­tem at the Bei­jing Cap­i­tal In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

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