Attention airlines, global distribution systems and websites that subscribe to fare updates from the Airline Tariff Publishing Co – you’ll have to wait until mid-2010 for hourly updates of international fares.
ATPCO, the global disseminator of air fares, delayed implementation of a plan to increase updates of things like New York to Paris or Beijing to Bangkok fares.
Slated to go with a speedier update system about a month from now, in November, ATPCO revealed that the new timetable is May 2010.
For airlines, travel websites and the global distribution systems that make many travel agencies hum, this means they will have to cope with the current system of eight fare updates per day for now.
In May, the plan is for ATPCO to update international fares hourly, or 24 updates per day.
Here’s some more background from a Travel Weekly article I wrote in July 2009 about what the changes would mean.
Jay Brawley, ATPCO’s director of customer marketing, says ATPCO decided to delay implementation until May 2010 because international subscribers to the service said they have technical issues related to handling the speedier updates.
Brawley said ATPCO would work on the international updates before it gets around to increasing the updates for domestic, U.S. fares.
What does it all mean? The online travel agencies and traditional travel agencies that sell international airline tickets will be using fare information that is not as up-to-date as the data can be.
That means airfare gurus and websites on Twitter will have new pricing information about changes to international fares less frequently than they would have had if ATPCO had stuck to the November launch schedule.
Airlines use these updates, Brawley explained, to monitor competitors’ fares (and to react to the competition), to account for revenue, and to ensure they are getting enough yield out of particular fares.
In other words, without the more frequent updates for airlines, dispersed in disparate time zones around the world, the carriers will be less nimble or efficient in tweaking those ticket prices.
And, consumers will be in the dark about fares for a little longer.