Insights from the Aviation IT Forum in Moscow
I had the chance to attend the Aviation IT Forum in Moscow, an event organized by ATO Events, that gathers all the movers and shakers of the airline technology scene in Russia and neighbouring countries.
The Russian commercial aviation industry is going through interesting, if a bit turbulent, times and, technology is one of the ways that Russian airlines can enhance their competitive position.
It is important to remark that, in comparison to other major air travel markets, Russian airlines still depend up to a very significant degree on indirect distribution, be it tour operators or old-fashioned brick-and-mortars agencies, to sell most of their tickets. This situation has its reflection on many Russian airline websites, which are, quite frankly, far from being state of the art.
No wonder, then, that indirect distribution featured prominently in the agenda of the conference sessions. IATA's NDC, in particular, took central stage, as it offers a way for airlines to offer their, increasingly important, ancillary offerings through the, still essential, travel agent network.
The emergence of low cost carriers such as Pobeda, that rely mostly on direct online sales, and socio-demographic changes, with younger generations that are comfortable, both, with online bookings as well as with unbundled ancillary services, will surely spur further changes in the way Russian airlines approach their IT platforms and services in years to come.