5 Reasons why airlines need to upgrade their Payment Processes
Payment processes between airlines and travel agents haven’t changed much since the introduction of the BSP and ARC payment settlement plans.  Whilst the current system allows airlines to sit back and wait to be reimbursed, there is a cost to this rigid system and it does take quite a long time to be paid.  

ATI Business Group has successfully developed a new solution for you to reduce this high cost and provide a payment gateway that ensures payment at the time of booking with completely flexible payment options.  

Introducing OPA

Online Payment for Agents (OPA) is a web-based portal that works as a payment landing page, connecting both the Global Distribution Systems (GDS)  and a variety of online-based payment systems.  OPA is a technology solution that helps digitise payment transaction processes from offline channels into payments that can be performed online with no wait time.  

OPA allows fast, easy and secured payment for airlines and their network of travel agents.  OPA removes the need for any payment intermediaries such as BSP.  By involving only the essential flow and services needed for the payment, processing time can be minimised and unnecessary costs (such as deposits and bank guarantees) can be avoided which can help airlines significantly improve their cash flow.

Our OPA solution can be integrated into multiple payment systems as well as all three principal GDS systems.  It supports PNR information checking, customised checking points according to your business rules and needs, reporting and automatic ticket issuance.  It facilitates a wide variety of payment options that can be added as required, through direct connections or through highly-secured payment gateways.  OPA also integrates with other settlement and inventory systems to allow payments not just for flight tickets but also for non-flight products generating further revenue opportunities.

Now that you know a little bit about OPA, here are the top five reasons you should consider OPA for your airline: 

1. Real-time payment system

The usual payment transaction process flows periodically, where airlines do not receive their payments directly and this typically takes 14 days or more for funds to be received.  

OPA is designed to integrate into all three GDS (Amadeus, Sabre and Travelport) as well as a variety of payment gateways which allows airlines to receive real-time payment where funds flow directly to the airline’s account when the booking is made.  Tickets are then issued only after payment is received in real-time.  

2. Customised payment options

Carriers are able to customise their payment options according to their market needs.  In current systems, airlines provide their own credit payment facility while in OPA the credit facility can be obtained directly from banks.

By connecting OPA to banks (host-to-host), travel agents can use all the banks’ payment channels, including Mobile Banking, Internet Banking, Credit Cards and even bank commercial loans.  Other financial gateways can be obtained including Direct Payment, PayPal, Private Label, e-wallets, ATM and other BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later) platforms.

As OPA also allows airlines to hold ownership of the system, adding customised promotional features is also made possible such as distributing discount vouchers for travel agents.  

3. Cost-effective process

To use the current system, airlines need to pay several fees such as; fees to collect payments and create billings. With OPA, payment intermediaries won’t be necessary since airlines will be the owner of the system and not just a user. Airlines only need to pay once to use OPA and there will be no added fees moving forward

This transaction flow will be more efficient as the cash flow is direct to the airlines. Not only does it minimise processing time, it also reduces the high cost of the process removing all the unnecessary fees.

4. Secured transaction process

OPA offers online transaction security standards including 3DS/OTP and fraud prevention features that are installed to guarantee security through the whole transaction process until it is completed. 

Using Credit Card (CC) FOP as an example, when using CC in the OPA, the system will not only implement 3DS but also provide Fraud and Risk Management that allows airlines to blacklist suspicious credit cards, stolen credit cards or credit cards with different billing addresses. The procedure ensures safer payments for every transaction in every channel, providing further assurance that the airlines can safely receive their money.  

5. No more large bookings deposits (for travel agents)

OPA helps both airlines and their network of travel agents when doing a group booking.  Currently, a deposit is required for large group bookings such as corporate travel or group leisure travel. When a group reservation is confirmed and deposits need to be paid, OPA can accommodate deposits based on the amount per ticket or by the percentage of the group fare.  OPA then calculates the required total deposit automatically.

Are you ready for the future of the payment process?

By removing the need for any payment intermediaries and involving only the essential flow and services needed for the payment, processing time can be minimised and unnecessary costs can be avoided which can help airlines to significantly improve their cash flow. With a variety of payment gateways, suppliers and carriers are also given the freedom to choose the best payment channels suited to their needs.

OPA is the flexible solution many airlines are looking for to address their payment needs through the travel agency network. Learn more about OPA here , or book a meeting with us to discuss more OPA functionality.

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