Universal Air Travel Plan (UATP), the low-cost payment network, has announced the selection of SITA to provide a next-generation authorisation and settlement infrastructure for its payment system, which annually processes transactions worth more than $12bn.
The arrangement between SITA and UATP will cover the delivery of payment services including an authorisation and settlement processing platform, as well as hosting and customer support services. The solution for UATP incorporates Horizon Payment Services, which is a key component of Horizon, SITA’s next-generation passenger management system.
UATP’s connectivity reaches over 95% of the world’s airline passenger-carrying capacity and provides low-cost alternatives to expensive credit card and merchant service fees. Airlines can completely avoid credit card fees if their corporate clients purchase tickets on the airline that issued their UATP card.
Ralph Kaiser, UATP, president and CEO, said: “UATP is strategically growing its network encompassing hotel and car rental merchants and expanding our alternative forms of payment processing. Updating our infrastructure with SITA’s cutting-edge technology allows for our planned expansion and improved efficiencies with new systems.”
SITA’s new technology will replace UATP’s existing infrastructure, which has been in place since 2000 and was provided by multiple suppliers.
Kaiser added: “For UATP there are significant benefits to dealing with a single supplier, and in particular with SITA, because this organisation understands both the industry in which we operate, and complex payment systems. SITA is a unique partner; unlike any other it has a mandate, like UATP, to serve the airline community and to reduce costs wherever possible.”
SITA has a 25 year history in travel payments including credit card authorisation services that manage more than 24 million transactions per year from GDSs and airline reservations systems to all major credit card schemes.
Brian Cook, SITA vice president, passenger solutions, said: “SITA’s global trend surveys have shown the continued adoption of online booking and the growing importance of kiosk and mobile payments. Airlines need an integrated payment infrastructure that is accessible from all touch points and routes transactions to the most appropriate payment channel.
“Our major investment in the Horizon passenger management solutions and our experience in the air travel payment business combined with our global IT and communications infrastructure will bring huge benefits to UATP and its customers. UATP’s selection demonstrates that the market clearly sees the value that SITA brings to passenger processing.”
SITA is using Authentic, the payment engine from Alaric, the service-oriented architecture (SOA)-oriented payment software provider, as a component of its next-generation payment infrastructure.
Over the past two years airlines from all parts of the globe tapped UATP’s network and expertise to solve a myriad of distribution and payment-related challenges ranging from corporate travel charge programs, prepaid card solutions and government travel initiatives. UATP’s unique ability to deliver solutions that enable airlines to grow their business while decreasing their cost of sale has led to a record number of carriers joining the network.
Over 250 airlines and thousands of travel agencies accept UATP as a low-cost form of payment for air travel, service fees, management fees and net fares. Not only does this make UATP an impressive network for corporate clients who use it as their preferred form of payment but those entities that accept UATP save money because of low merchant service charges.