Transaction Reconciliation in the Airline Industry
The Airline Industry definitely has its specialties. And this is also true for the credit card processing in this industry. Airlines are considered a high risk business for credit card acquirers. This is because airlines have a huge turn over in money and almost all their turn over is generated by credit cards. Since credit cards give their customers a service fulfillment guarantee if they pay with a credit card, acquirers take big risks in the case an airline goes bankrupt.
Some acquirers don’t even subscribe airlines anymore. For larger airlines this means that they have to split their credit card volume to several acquirers. One of our larger airline customers has 16 different acquirers. They even have four different Visa and four different Mastercard acquirers.
What does this mean for credit card reconciliation? Since reconciliation is not standardized at all in the cards world, an airline has to develop a lot of interfaces to process acquirer reconciliation data. Since they have such large volume and so many interfaces it is very difficult to have a clear daily picture of your financial situation.
A lot of transactions!
Since airline tickets are sometimes expensive, the airlines usually reconcile on ticket level. In credit cards words; every transaction has to be reconciled! Tickets to credit card statements and credit card statements to bank accounts. This is a whole lot of work and can impossibly be done manually.
To reconcile airline transactions you need a high volume accounting systems that is capable of processing several credit card reconciliation formats like EPA (electronic payment advice), RAF (Reconciliaton Advice File), MRX, XML, EVG, EVR, etc. This system must also load all tickets (sales records) and in the end the electronic bank account statement (MT940). Then the system has to match everything together and export the condensed bookings towards the accounting system. Sounds easy, but this realy is hard work since all data comes from different sources in different formats.
We have solved the airline industry’s reconciliation problems with our Reconciliation Hub product. This is a highly configurable accounting system that is specialized to process all the above mentioned data. We also have a proven project methodology called the “financial flow analysis” to implement the project with the customer needs. Implementing the Reconciliation Hub will save you a lot of time and money.
Airline reconciliation is definitely a special task. If you are familiar with airline reconciliation systems please feel free to share your comment.