Yenra : Air Travel : Airline Technology Upgrade : Online reservations, electronic paperless ticketing, self-service express check-in kiosks, and touchscreen booking

Airline

Aeroflot has launched a pilot version of its new online booking service, reported its plans to introduce electronic paperless ticketing, and reported the success of the travel agency technology switch.

The airline also revealed plans for the launch of self-service airport express check-in kiosks, as well as touch-screen self-booking units in Aeroflot offices that travelers can use to plan flights and make their own bookings.

The new technologies will improve cost savings, efficiency, and customer service while preparing the carrier for future growth.

The Aeroflot technology upgrade involved the successful switch from outdated technology systems to cutting-edge reservation, operational and decision-support products provided by Sabre.

Sergey Kiryushin of Aeroflot said the scale of the project was vast.

"To change our entire technology platform while running a growing and successful business has been a major challenge," Kiryushin said. "The fact that we have got as far as we have, while simultaneously servicing growing customer inquiries and maintaining service levels has been an outstanding achievement by the Aeroflot and Sabre teams."

Aeroflot Bonus passengers are now able to view and book seats on any Aeroflot flight around the world. During the first phase of the project passengers will pay for and collect tickets from Aeroflot offices, with online payment and ticket delivery expected to become available in a few months.

Aeroflot also announced new automated booking units for its ticket office, to help reduce customer waiting times. The touch-screen self-booking units, specially developed for Aeroflot by Sabre Airline Solutions, will allow travelers to plan flights and make their own bookings.

Aeroflot plans to introduce self-service airport express check-in kiosks.

Kiryushin said that Aeroflot expects to have one passenger in every five using the automated check-in facilities by the end of 2006 and that this new technology will help the airline manage growth in passenger volume as well as giving cost savings and customer service benefit.

Paperless ticketing is another area where the technology is being tested at Aeroflot for implementation.

"Everything we are announcing today is about customer convenience, staffing, and cost efficiencies, bringing the airline up to date with best practice in the competitive world of the international aviation industry," said Eugene Bachurin of Aeroflot. "We're rapidly turning Aeroflot into an airline which embraces the best available technology and efficiencies -- resulting in a better service for customers and a more streamlined, cost-effective airline for the country. It's one of the advantages of having chosen to go with Sabre Airline Solutions in the first place -- they offered better technology and better support for these innovations than the previous incumbent or any of its competitors."

"These projects have huge implications for Aeroflot and its role as a major international airline, as well as advancing customer-oriented travel services within Russia," said Tom Klein of Sabre. "The Sabre team recognized the importance of this accomplishment and dedicated itself to making it successful. We are pleased that our new generation solution was ready for Aeroflot to implement in the timeframe it required, rather than depending on promises of future developments."

"Aeroflot's objective is to continue making use of the most efficient technologies in the industry," said Bachurin. "This is why we chose Sabre's technology package. We believe Sabre provides more flexibility in the areas of air travel reservation and sales and ticketing than any other offering currently available while at the same time ensuring maximum efficiency from both the travel agents and the airline sales offices."

The project involved switching not only Aeroflot's internal reservations system from the old to the new, but also the reservation system used by nearly six thousand Aeroflot-affiliated travel agents in more than three thousand locations.

"Aeroflot wanted to leapfrog its competitors by using the most advanced and effective booking technology available to the travel industry," said Sergey Obryvalin. "We chose Sabre Travel Network for this reason as its products lead the way for both travel providers and travel agencies. The new technology gives us a whole spectrum of advanced functionality that we will use, in turn, to raise our levels of service to both the travel agency community and our traveling customers."