October 31, 2016
When low cost airlines first appeared, they managed to steal a march on the legacy carriers thanks to their leaner structure, that allowed them to operate more efficiently and offer significantly lower prices. By de-bundling the traditional “all inclusive” fare, upselling and cross-selling different extra services, low cost airlines also empowered customers with the capacity to pay only for the services they needed.
A logical derivative of this was, thus, the emergence of booking systems designed to cover the specific needs of the low cost airline industry.
For years the PSS of choice of most of the major low cost airlines has been Navitaire NewSkies, recently acquired by airline-It giant Amadeus. Its customer list includes the likes of Ryanair, Vueling, Wizz Air, Spirit, Volotea, Pobeda or Viva Colombia. As you can see, some of the most consolidated players in the LCC space.
There are very good reasons for this state of things. In addition to enjoying first-mover advantage in the LCC segment and a pricing structure that compared favorably with that of legacy systems, NewSkies provides very comprehensive functional coverage and has the ticketless model favoured by low cost airlines at its core.
As the low cost airline industry has been evolving from its original simplicity towards more complex business models, Navitaire NewSkies has grown along.
The latest iteration of Navitaire’s booking engine framework (including the APIs that make it possible to build your own customized internet booking engine and integrate with mobile apps), is called dotREZ and adds a whole range of updates to stay in tune not only with technological trends, but also with the evolving and increasingly complex requirements of budget and hybrid airlines: multiple fare classes, fare bundles, loyalty programs and interline agreements, to name just a few.
Current NewSkies users are now migrating to dotREZ, as it provides quite a few advantages over previous versions"
Integration with your own content management system (CMS) and with third party systems, such as those driving ancillary sales, have also become easier. This is a key aspect, since the capacity to add functional layers to your PSS in order to manage a whole range of ancillaries and customer intelligence tools is key for competitiveness.
Also, while dotREZ remains a sophisticated piece of software, with a powerful and complex back-office whose successful implementation and management is dependent on having pretty specialized knowledge of airline and PSS operations, it also boasts simplified interfaces, which shortens the learning curve in comparison to previous versions.
Another important consideration is the mobile strategy.
With a growing number of bookings being made this way, and passengers are also using their smartphones to interact with the airline at different moments throughout their journey, it pays off to go mobile from the start.
In this regard, dotREZ’s MVC architecture has some additional advantages. For example, with dotREZ it is easier to make responsive websites that adapt to different types of device (desktop, tablet or mobile). There is little doubt that the API-oriented dotREZ approach facilitates the development of fully-performing native iOS or Android apps.
There are different ways to approach the mobile issue within dotREZ. The optimal choice ultimately depends on cost, with frameworks such as Cordova/PhoneGap and Xamarin, for example, providing a rather economic option.
Other questions to be addressed when thinking your approach are whether is it best to go multiplatform (Android, iOS, Microsoft) or not or whether is it necessary to have a fully native app developed.
For some other airlines it is all about flexibility and the capacity to scale fast, while keeping a relatively lean infrastructure.
As the low cost model is evolving in complexity, with many shades of low cost services between the ultra-low cost and the traditional full service airline, so do the technological needs.
In this regard, Radixx Air has emerged as a particularly dynamic and independent player. Radixx has becomes a serious challenger to more established players by providing a competitively priced modular system that has flexibility and ease of use as core principles. Radixx has been designed its system with the emerging hybrid airline model in mind.
Its new generation web-based PSS, called Radixx Galaxy, has been launched this year, with new additional modules being added throughout 2017"
In addition to its user-friendly interface, its web-based characteristics present a number of advantages, such as a more frequent number of releases (Radixx does not charge its clients for these) and shorter times to deploy new updates.
Radixx has also been designed with the integration of third party systems in mind, something increasingly important as a myriad of suppliers in the travel technology industry keep launching ever more sophisticated tools to drive their marketing and distribution efforts, particularly in driving ancillary revenue. It allows for easy integration with GDS and the management of interline and codeshare connections.
In fact, Radixx is pro-actively nurturing its community of users and partners, while developing a proper technology ecosystem to build additional functionalities on top of its core systems. The recent partnership with Vayant, an established supplier of fare management and ecommerce solutions for airlines, is an example of this outward-looking approach.
Radixx has proven itself a popular option among up and coming airlines with an hybrid business model, such as WOW Air, FlyDubai or GoAir. This fact has not gone unnoticed by investors, with private equity firm TA Associates recently announcing it is pouring capital into the company in order to fuel its ambitious growth plans.
While Navitaire remains the player of reference in the low cost airline market and Radixx is doing well among the new breed of hybrid carriers, they may still be a bit of overkill for much smaller airlines that are sticking to a relatively simplified operational model.
Those airlines that, simply, do not need to manage such a complex operational and commercial environment, may prefer a system that, while covering all the bases, is able to provide a lighter and cheaper alternative.
SaaS cloud-based PSS such as Bravo Avantik may be exactly what those airlines need.
So, as you can see, different approaches to choosing the best PSS for your airline, depending on what your needs are in terms of system architecture, ancillary services and budget.
At Newshore we are experts in helping new low cost airlines get off the ground quickly and reliably. We have worked with some of the most successful low cost airline launches of the last few years, setting up their technological platforms: from implementing PSS systems to designing internet booking engines and customizing ancillary revenue solutions"
We have extensive experience working with all the three systems featured in this article and can provide expert advice on the best choice as well as guidance through its implementation, maintenance and further technical development.
The innovative solutions we have developed for our clients allowing them to focus on their core business - to fly people around - without any risk of disruption to their operations.