How An API Strategy Can Revolutionize Airlines & Airports

By Hélène Dubos | Technology

May 20

APIs (it stands for Application Programming Interface) give third-party website and mobile app developers controlled access to selected parts of your corporate data. Why would you want to do that? So that corporate partners through to innovative young developers can promote your products and services round the clock.

Here’s a quick tip. If you’re too busy to read all of this article, then quickly visit two websites that will set your imagination on fire:

1. Emirates lets programmers register to access their APIs for booking flights, etc.
2. Gopili is one of a growing number of multimodal apps based on travel APIs.

That dynamic between organizations like Emirates and Gopili demonstrates the power of APIs. An international airline like Emirates can find a new, fast and simple route-to-market via exciting developers like Gopili, simply by sharing their APIs.

Want to know more about some of the most exciting developments in airline and airport APIs? Read on …

IATA NDC API ‘Hackathons’.

iata ntc airport api hackathon

IATA’s NDC New Distribution Capability is a great example of how airlines can share their data with airports, travel portals and other developers via API technology.

Click on the image above and you’ll see how IATA – along with API partners like British Airways, Qatar Airways and SITA – are sponsoring hackathons. These are events where developers can let their imaginations run wild to develop web and mobile apps which are based on API data.

A core advantage of IATA NDC is that it gives airlines control over how their offers are promoted by third parties, including the text and video content of their offers.

By the way, if you are interested in knowing more about IATA NDC implementation, you might like to read our blog post titled ‘IATA New Distribution Capability. How Airlines Can Implement NDC Quickly.

SITA APIs and innovative services like iBeacons.

It’s not just airlines who can use APIs. Airports can create API-based innovations too.

SITA is a great example of how APIs can be harnessed to create next generation airport apps. The video above shows the Miami Airport ‘Day of Travel’ app which was created using SITA APIs solution.

‘Day of Travel’ solution include:

  • Day of Travel Airport App
  • Beacon Services
  • Airport Maps
  • FlightInfo API
  • FlightFollower API
  • Airport API
  • WaitTime API
  • Weather API
  • BoardingPass API

Beacons – also known as iBeacons – are a useful tool for airports as they enable the app to track where in the airport the app user is, so they can be presented with ‘contextually relevant’ information, based on their location. Other emerging technologies like wearable devices (think Apple iWatch) and Internet of Things devices (think automated baggage check-in machines) could be included in the future.

EasyJet and Gatwick Airport API collaboration.

EasyJet and Gatwick airport api collaboration

EasyJet and Gatwick API collaboration. Link

The power of APIs is multiplied when developers make collaborative apps.

Like the Gopili multimodal travel app mentioned at the beginning of this article – where data from numerous transport and hotel operators enables people to book their whole journey from one web or mobile app – airlines and airports can also work together on app development.

For example, easyJet customers at London’s Gatwick airport can now use their app to find airport facilities like bag drop location, boarding alerts, gate location and distance, mobile boarding pass and on-arrival baggage belt location. It has been so popular the easyJet wants to work with other airports, and Gatwick aims to extend their API showing to other airlines.

One such example, though, is Gatwick Airport, along with its largest airline customer, easyJet, both of which have shown commitment to work closely together with the aim of reaping shared rewards. The recently enhanced easyJet Mobile Host app, which combines live data from Gatwick Airport’s information systems together with the passenger’s flight itinerary and indoor maps of the terminal to provide passengers with bespoke instructions and updates, offers a useful case in point.
Future Travel Experience website

The FAA, Amadeus and even cities have APIs.

Tech website Programmable Web lists over 15,000 APIs which developers can use to develop the next generation of web and mobile apps.

One of these is the FAA Airport Service API which “provides reports of known delays and other airport status from the FAA’s Air Traffic Control System Command Center (ATCSCC). It also returns current weather reports from NOAA for the airport. Methods accept an IATA airport code and return a status message, reason for any flight delays, and average length of delays. Return data also includes the current weather forecast for the airport with update time local to that location.”

Another API on Programmable Web is the Amadeus Nearest Relevant Airport API. The description for this API says: “The Amadeus Nearest Relevant Airport API provides developers a way to integrate the Amadeus Nearest Relevant Airport service with their applications, enabling their users to get the most relevant airports in a radius of 500 km around the given coordinates. ”

As mentioned earlier, web and mobile apps which combine data from multiple sources have the potential to add great value, as well as being more convenient for travellers. Multimodal travel consultants Milanamos of France have written a blog post titled Transport Operators and Smart City APIs : The Clever Way To Create Next Generation Services which explains how cities like Barcelona, Melbourne and New York area sharing APIs which include public transport, parking and tourism information.

When developers can merge data from players like airlines, airports, bus companies, cities, smart devices, the Internet of Things, weather channels, Uber, etc … incredible apps are bound to be the result.

Airline & Airport API integration services.

Conztanz has a wide range of consulting services and data management tools which can help airlines and airports to enabletheir data-driven opportunities. With Conztanz’s smart and agile travel data platform, airlines can implement its API environment quickly. As an example, Braathens’ solution has been set up in only one week-end.

Airline & Airport API research sources.

Here’s a handy list of all the online articles we used when creating this article about airline and airport API development.

Emirates Launches IATA NDC Compliant B2B API.
http://www.programmableweb.com/news/emirates-launches-iata-ndc-compliant-b2b-api/brief/2016/04/28

Emirates API registration.
http://snip.ly/8zul2

Gopili uses APIs for multimodal travel.
http://snip.ly/fz5c0

IATA NDC Hackathon Events.
http://snip.ly/ogxdy

How Airlines Can Implement IATA NDC Quickly.
http://www.conztanz.com/iata-distribution-airlines-ndc/

SITA Day Of Travel Services.
http://snip.ly/9legr

EasyJet and Gatwick Airport API collaboration.
http://snip.ly/lymqx

FAA Airport Service API.
http://www.programmableweb.com/api/faa-airport-service

Amadeus Nearest Relevant Airport API.
http://www.programmableweb.com/api/amadeus-nearest-relevant-airport

Wikipedia : Application Programming Interface.
http://snip.ly/reqtx