Ticket stock control
This is the process that maintains details of the current status of
accountable documents, from the time they leave the printer. It will require
stock to be received by the head office or other distribution centre, and
will allow each distribution centre to re-distribute to General Sales
Agents, offices and agencies. A link to the sales reporting process will
confirm whether the sales point is correctly reporting the sale, or whether
there is an input error, or stock control error. Identification of the
stockholder for a flown coupon for which no sale has been reported assists
in attributing a temporary value to the coupon for management reporting, and
enables the sales point to be chased should a sale not be reported within an
acceptable time. A link to the ticket blacklist service will allow logging
and reporting of missing or stolen stock.
Sales register and calendar
This process identifies the reporting calendar for every sales point and
BSP, whether manual or automated, in-house or agency. As sales reports are
received, the calendar is updated to show it has arrived, and that
processing has started. The calendar will highlight missing and overdue
returns, and either send out chasers, or report to the user for further
follow-up. Account postings may take place to record the value of the sales
This covers the capture of sales and refund reports, whether as manual
returns, or as tape or file loads from BSPs and in-house ticketing systems.
Each will be checked for errors and inconsistencies, such as bad data,
out-of-sequence tickets and internal/batch total errors. Anything that will
fail the next process input will be corrected here.
The system may well incorporate, or link to, an image database, allowing
ticket records to be processed, stored and retrieved at will. This aids any validation,
enhancement and correction activities in any process, which might otherwise
require access to the paper ticket or to a printed facsimile.
Refunds and exchanges will be recorded, and the uplifted coupon data
passed to the Uplifts process to be accounted for and cleared from the
Additionally TCN data for the airline’s sales may be received and
processed to assist with valuation of flown coupons for which no sale has
been reported. Data for other airline sales containing one of your own
segments may also be stored, to allow for automated generation of billing
values to that airline, or for use as part of the IATA First and Final
Commission and discount
This will check any discounts, commissions and over-rides claimed or
deducted, and highlight any which require recovery action to take place. The
generation of ADMs may take place here, or may be held in case other errors
are discovered. Accounting adjustments will result.
Fare and tax audit
This will look at the journey, the sales date, the travel dates,
stopovers and so on to validate whether the correct fares and taxes have
been shown on the ticket. Once again, errors outside of a given tolerance
will require corrective action, and further accounting adjustments will be
made to reflect the action taken.
The data passed from Sales Input will be prorated to obtain accurate
values for fare, commissions and discounts at a coupon level, and individual
values for each will be passed to the forward sales (UTR) account and other
suspense accounts to be held until each coupon is used. The final data will
be passed to a core database, where all the ticket’s details will be stored,
and records of usage maintained. The proration module may be either an
internal function of the sales evaluation process, a separate module or
process, or external service provided by a third-party though upload and
download of data and results.
This is like the sales register, except that it maintains a record of all
flight schedules, and the number of days that the office is prepared to wait
for the flight coupons or data before sending a chase. The register ensures
that this data is received for every flight in the airline’s schedule, and
that no flights have been lost or forgotten. As the flown coupon record is
the airline’s principal source of actual revenue, it is critical that these
are processed quickly and accurately.
This is principally the collection and input of coupons or coupon records
for every passenger that has flown. The input may be in the form of
electronic ticket records, data recovered from coupons by scanning machines,
file transfers from departure control systems, or by manual capture of the
data on the physical flight coupon. Tickets of other airlines are also
recorded, and passed to the Outward Billing process for pricing and recovery
from the selling airline. This process is also accessed from Sales Input to
clear refunded and exchanged coupons from the database.
This process varies, depending on whether the system is
‘First-coupon-based’ or ‘Sales-based’. For a further description of these,
see our overview of revenue accounting approaches. Briefly, in both a sales-based and first-coupon-based approach, if
there are values for fare, commissions, discounts and taxes that have been
through the sales process, these will be used for accounting. If there is no
sales record available, the first-coupon-based system will require the
capture of a dummy sales record, using the information on the flight coupon.
This may or may not be used for accounting. The sales-based system will
allocate a calculated value based on internal logic, equivalent historical
data and other stored information, and this will be used for management
reporting. The accounting will not take place until the sales record has
Basically, this process controls the reconciliation and accounting of the
ticket. It flags coupons as used, whether flown, billed, refunded or
exchanged, and clears the appropriate values for accounting. It also manages
process controls such as duplicate usage checks, unreported sale checks,
blacklist checks, out-dating of unused tickets and so on.
This process values any coupons issued by another airline, together with
any taxes or Interline Service Charge (ISC) applicable, and creates
the interline bill to recover the value from that airline. There is a formal structure
of invoice documents (Forms 1, 2, 3, A, B, etc.). Bills can be sent as paper
invoices, or as IDEC data files. Billing can be Non-sample (i.e. Each coupon
is factually evaluated, ideally automatically using TCN data and a prorate
module, but possibly
by manual calculation), or Sample (i.e. A defined percentage of the total
interline billing will be factually evaluated, and then ‘scaled-up’ to a value that
represents the total volume of coupons). It can also be ‘First & Final’, a
new approach which uses standard valuations for tickets based on Neutral
Fare Proration (NFP), and for which there is no interline error or rejection
For non-sample interline billing each coupon valued is added to a bill in an
industry standard format, and this is sent either directly to the other
carrier or to an industry Clearing House.
For Sample interline billing, a provisional invoice is created, using preliminary
valuations which are always automated. This is despatched as above.
For First & Final interline billing, the TCN record for the coupon will have an
NFP value attached. This is used for billing without further validation or
amendment. When the bill is despatched (using IDEC), the service confirms to
the receiving airline that the correct prorate value has been used. The
airline then accepts this billing without further checking.
If either of the other interline billing methods have been used, the outward bill
may also incorporate any Rejections generated from the Inward Billing
This process starts with a register that notes the invoices that are
expected, and logs them and their values when they arrive. This is necessary
as the Clearing House process will have already deducted the value of the
bill from the value of any outgoing invoices. In effect, it has already been
paid, and the subsequent validations are to see whether any recovery is
The invoice itself is captured either manually, or by loading the IDEC
file. In the case of non-sample, the system will then compare the
incoming-billed values for fare, taxes and ISC with the data on the
coupon database. If the billed values are the same as, or lower than, the
stored values, the billing will be accepted, and adjusted account postings
made. If the billed value is higher than the stored value, the item will be
flagged for review and re-prorated. If the difference is not accepted, and the value is
outside the pre-assigned tolerance level, a Rejection is initiated.
Equally, incoming interline billing rejects from the other airline need to be entered,
reviewed, and either accepted or rejected a further time if there is still
In the case of Sample, the system must select all coupons from the
incoming invoice which match the sample digits published by IATA, and these
must be factually evaluated with a high degree of accuracy. An adjustment is
agreed with the other airline after a preliminary evaluation of the tickets
(the process of Sampling is covered fully in the IATA Revenue Accounting
Manual, section B1).
For a First & Final billing, the only check is that the incoming IDEC
item does not have an error code against it, which indicates that the First
and Final Billing Service has identified that the value has been manually
amended, and can therefore be rejected if unacceptable.
This process is concerned with the maintenance of user identities and
authorities, system security, back-ups, time and date initiated functions,
posting consolidation and control, reference data tables and loads, and so
on. Whatever the name applied, the functions must be available.
The system will supply a range of accounting and management information
reports, and provide data feeds to other systems and departments as required, such as
financial systems, MIS
and EIS systems, revenue and yield management, sales management, and so on.
This simple overview may be of use for airlines to consider basic
functionality options, but we are happy to advise on more detailed revenue
accounting system requirements, functionality and design.