The global tax man cometh — and airlines hope the process has just become more efficient.
HP and all of the airlines tied into its itinerary pricing engine were to have cutover by today and become the first entities to implement a new automated and global tax-pricing feed from the Airline Tariff Publishing Company.
The carriers — including Brussels Airlines, Flybe, Â Malmo Aviation, Olympic Air, United Airlines, US Airways andÂ Virgin Atlantic — on the HP Fares system were slated to have completed the migration to the automated feed, ATPCO Tax Collection and Distribution, by today, with five of them having accomplished the task in mide-April, officials say.
HP Fares is used in conjunction with both of HP’s in-production airline reservations systems, SHARES and axsPSS.
ATPCO Tax Collection and Distribution replaces a manual process that service providers and airlines were using as they updated their tax tables based on tax information published by IATA.
Sylvia Weinzettel, HP Enterprise Services’ pricing product manager, says the ATPCO solution, which gets data from IATA and other sources, reduces errors in the way airlines and service providers interpret taxes and provides a single data source, ATPCO, which will field airlines’ questions about tax data issues.
What kind of interpretation errors were previously in play?
For example, an airline might not know whether a particular tax applied merely to issuing a ticket or whether it came into play when reissuing tickets, as well, Weinzettel says.
The correction process is also streamlined because the new ATPCO tax feed occurs hourly, explains Cindy Falschlehner, director of HP Passenger Service Solutions.
Falschlehner says development of ATPCO Tax Collection and Distribution took a couple of years and it was complicated by the variation in carriers’ systems.
She characterized the cutover, however, as fairly “simple.”
Rolf Purzer, ATPCO’s chief marketing officer, says the new tax solution will streamline airline operations and make them more efficient and accurate.
ATPCO says it took into account industry feedback about the product and therefore included a feature providing the tax data in text format to make tax rules and their application easier to comprehend for airlines, travel agencies and travel management companies.
On a related front, Falschlehner says HP is “very much focused” on development of its next-generation PSS, HP Agilaire.
American Airlines had been working with HP on its own version of Agilaire, which it called Jetstream, but American Airlines’ bankruptcy process got in the way.
Of Jetstream, Falschlehner says HP respects the rights of its customers to resolve their own issues, adding that HP is working with American to determine the right path.