International Air Transport Association

International Air Transport Association (IATA) Timelines: Global Experience

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is the trade association for the world’s airlines, representing some 290 airlines or 82% of total air traffic. They support many areas of aviation activity and help formulate industry policy on critical aviation issues.  IATA is also responsible for Airline Services such as the IATA Settlement Systems (ISS) which are the backbone of the global air transport industry. They enable the swift, reliable, and efficient movement of funds between airlines and their travel partners. In 2017, the ISS settled $433.3 billion.  Another service is the Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP). BSP is a system designed to facilitate and simplify the selling, reporting and remitting procedures of IATA Accredited Passenger Sales Agents, as well as improve financial control and cash flow for BSP Airlines.  BSP is a truly worldwide system: there are BSP operations in some 180 countries and territories. The system currently serves more than 370 participating airlines with an on-time settlement rate of 99.999%. In 2017, IATA’s BSP processed $236.3 billion.

The Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP) is both a programme and an office which is established by IATA members (i.e. airlines) in a country to simplify the selling, reporting and remitting procedures for IATA accredited Passenger Sales Agents (i.e. travel agencies).  The BSP controls the issuance of neutral airline tickets to Agents on behalf of the Airlines.  The BSP Data Centre handles the computation of the billings and monetary amounts that Agents remit to the appointed Clearing Bank and the division of these amounts by the Clearing Bank for settlement amongst the Airlines.  The BSP Data Centre in Australia handled all financial settlements relating to airline ticket sales (over AU$ 3.3 billion per year) between Australian travel agents and the Airlines that are members of BSP Australia.

Paul’s Accomplishments

  • Developed a strategy, project plan and budget for the migration of the BSP Data Processing from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (who was acting at that time as the Clearing Bank and the BSP Data Processing Centre for BSP Australia) to an in-house system. This was known as the ‘BSP Migration’ and it affected over 2000 Agents and over 200 Airlines.  Implemented on time and on budget.
  • Coordinated the implementation of the BSP Migration plan including staffing, equipment purchase and setup, data centre construction, contracts, data conversion, testing, software verification and installation, program design specifications and cut-over.
  • Developed complete operations instructions and procedures for running the in-house BSP systems.
  • Coordinated all migration activities with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia Data Processing Centre (including processing, data entry and direct debit system).
  • Implemented various systems management disciplines: problem management and change management.
  • Participated in numerous airline and travel agency committee meetings related to the BSP Migration project.
  • Designed and coordinated the development, testing and implementation of numerous enhancements to the BSP Software (as provided by Geneva) to meet the requirements of the Australian Airlines and Australian Agents. These included sophisticated reports using high-speed laser printing; bulletin board systems for the agents and airlines, process improvements, etc).
  • Lobbied airlines and IATA for the budget to develop new Billing and Settlement Plan Software and for the responsibility to do the development in Australia. This was achieved and my role was changed to Software Development Project Manager for SSV2 (Standard Software Version 2 – the name given to the new BSP software system).
  • Established development platform for all software development at IATA. The tools I selected and recommended were Uniface and Oracle.  IATA Geneva, IATA Montreal and IATA Australia adopted these.
  • Australia was the first BSP to offer secure electronic settlement & reporting using in-house developed bulletin board system (that Paul designed) which was used by the airlines and travel agencies across Australia.
  • Participated in numerous committee meetings to solicit new business for the BSP Australia Data Centre and to promote the new SSV2 software. This involved meetings in Geneva, Winnipeg (Canada), Auckland, Tahiti, New Caledonia, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur.  Met with the BSP airline committees in those countries to sell them on the new software concept.  Presented business proposals to the BSP airline committees for Australia BSP Data Centre to run the BSP operations in their respective country.

Paul’s Responsibilities

Budget: AUD 2.5 million

Staff: Operations Staff (4); Data Entry service bureau of over 40 staff; Technical Support and Programming (8)

Reporting:

  • BSP Migration – Project Plan, Hardware/Software/Staff Requirements & Budget
  • Monthly management objectives and achievements reports
  • Staff objectives, job descriptions, training plans and performance appraisals, salary recommendations
  • Development Tools – Review and recommendations
  • SSV2 System Development Methodology
  • SSV2 System Testing Methodology
  • SSV2 Project Administration and Control
  • SSV2 Request for Service Procedures
  • SSV2 Problem Definition Documentation & Client Requirements Statement Procedures

Assignment Details

April 1992 to April 1994

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

BSP Data Centre Manager | Software Development Manager

Hardware

PC Hardware, RS/6000 Server

Software

Microsoft Office, Uniface, Oracle, Cobol, Novell, DOS