How .aero is helping simplify the business

IATA has been asked by its member airlines to lead initiatives that will redefine the way we do business. It will benefit both the industry and the customer by making a more efficient travel experience for everyone. All of the initiatives rely on some form of communication between different systems – which means use of online technology via the Internet. With its pioneering stance and robust industry support .aero offers the best potential communication bridge, effectively becoming the "Type B" of the Internet age.

The objective is to improve customer service whilst saving at least US$3 billion in annual costs. The background to the initiative is well understood across the industry, reflecting the difficult financial situation of the past four years, a changing environment with many new entrants to the market, the broadening availability of new online technologies and enhanced customer expectation of speedy, hassle-free service.

The projects include:

  • 100 percent e-ticketing by 2007
  • universal acceptance of common use self-service kiosks (CUSS)
  • implementation of barcode standards to replace costly magnetic stripe boarding passes
  • rapid adoption of radio frequency identification (RFID) baggage tags.

SITA has both a key strategic and a practical role to play in helping ensure these projects succeed – a role that was strongly endorsed by IATA.

The role of the logical network

However air transport companies decide to use the Internet, the Domain Name System (DNS – see previous article) will be involved whatever technology solution is implemented. Its advantage is that it is ubiquitous, always there and everyone can use it. It is not a proprietary technology.

Intelligent use of DNS technology is essential for safe use of the Internet. Domain names are essential to providing the level of machine/human interface needed to separate the host from physical network connections. The DNS is also essential for safe use of the Internet and flexible management of both connections and systems. This is the field of the logical network – the software, servers, names and addresses that enable communications over the physical network.

A more detailed exploration of the logical network can be seen at, including an interview with Gartner analyst Mark Fabbi. The article contends that "logical networks will play an increasingly vital role in business availability and service performance in the coming years due to the convergence of a number of trends … Ensuring that the logical network layer is rock-solid, including the DNS, DHCP and IP address management solution, is vital to the delivery of services across both enterprise and service provider networks".

The role of .aero

Certainly, communication between different systems is behind most, if not all, of IATA's initiatives. However, as airlines have transitioned to the Internet, many decided to establish links between systems on a case-by-case basis rather than using a central system. This has created fresh problems because too many standards and technologies are involved.

As a result, a growing number of air transport companies are looking at new technologies and standards – for example, in order to consolidate and deploy a more cost effective solution to provide the same or better level of security.