On the surface, a partnership between Sabre and British Airways this week indicated that the airline would be handing over much of its airport customer handling technology to a new provider.
The deal sees BA use a product from Sabre Airline Solutions known as Qik Develop Tool which will allow airport employees to gather information about booked passengers and assist with terminal-to-aircraft workflow.
In short: rather helpful technology, it appears, to handle the multi-channel/platform systems now used by both people on the ground as well as customers.
Qik is already used by Lufthansa, South Africa Airways, Air New Zealand, Southwest Airlines and Thai Airways.
Kicking about behind the scenes, however, is Amadeus.
British Airways uses the Amadeus Altea Reservation and Inventory system as well as other technology to handle the airline's existing Departure Control process.
The partnership, which has been in place as part of a wider IT agreement signed in March 2008 for ten years, will also see BA migrate its Departure Control and customer management technology to the Altea system.
Confused about how the Sabre system fits in, then?
It turns out that being developed alongside the existing Altea system is additional technology, namely the Qik system, to run "airport and ramp interfaces" - in other words: the passenger recognition system.
For its part, Sabre says:
“Sabre Qik Solution is one of many solutions we have developed to help airlines increase productivity, reduce costs and increase revenues. We are pleased that we can drive significant incremental value above what the airline uses today. It’s such flexible technology that it will adapt to any reservations system to create a custom point of sale and service for airlines.”
"This agreement is the continuation of the strategic arrangement which started in 2000 between the two companies, designed to provide British Airways with a next generation technology platform for the management of passenger services."
Who ever said technology simplifies the travel industry...