Navitaire – Open Skies: A History of InnovationOpen Skies: A History of Innovation

In the global airline industry, the name Navitaire is synonymous with innovative product leadership, game-changing technology and nimble customer responsiveness. One key example driving this recognition was the company’s flagship reservation system, Open Skies by Navitaire. Since its 1994 launch, the Open Skies reservation system has powered many of the world’s most successful airlines, including hybrid, low-fare carriers and established airlines, as they transformed their business model to be more competitive.

Although Navitaire no longer markets the Open Skies reservation system to new clients, many of the original design principles remain an integral part of Navitaire’s philosophy, forming the bedrock of Navitaire’s advanced solutions. These principles include a dedication to deliver scalable, open architecture systems offering advanced flexibility and practical innovation to help clients create more value.

The Navitaire Open Skies system offered an integrated web-enabled reservation and inventory system suite that included Internet, call center, airport departure control functionality and more. Introduced in 1994, Open Skies quickly became a major industry player. In just 10 years, the system was adopted by more than 65 airlines across the globe and became a proven workhorse, which has processed more than 1 billion passenger reservations.

The Open Skies system forged ahead of its long-tenured industry competitors by providing innovative technology and services across the entire passenger experience, and especially in four key areas: direct sales, ancillary revenue generation, the use of customer-centric ticketless technology and on-demand reporting.

Direct Sales: The Open Skies reservation system soon became the de facto solution and the industry’s leading direct sales system, with Open Skies clients booking an average of 82% of their reservations online, with some clients as high as 99% for direct sales. Although the system was well known for its direct sales capabilities, it also supported the broader distribution channels including bi-directional codeshare bookings and travel agency GDS bookings.

Ancillary Sales: Open Skies clients were also some of the first to adopt and promote ancillary services to their travelers. The Open Skies system featured fully integrated online ancillary revenue generation through seat fees, payment fees, travel insurance sales, merchandise sales, express boarding fees, baggage fees, traveler lounge access fees, and more. These services allowed travelers to enhance their travel experience and airlines to improve profitability.

Customer-Centric Ticketless Model: The Open Skies system was also the first airline reservation system to use a customer-centric model built on ticketless technology. Ticketless technology is not e-ticketing, it is an advanced, fundamentally different approach to reservations and payment. Its unique customer-centric data management system captures booking and financial information at the customer level, enabling customer self-service reservation changes and refunds. This combined passenger, flight and financial data not only provides greater insights into customer activity, it also supports direct settlement, instant revenue information and reporting, and easy deployment of passenger credits or vouchers.

On-Demand Reporting: The Open Skies ticketless system gave clients unparalleled access to rich customer data and more than 80 reports covering a wide variety of business areas. The highly integrated nature of the Open Skies system included the unique ability to get reports on-demand, providing invaluable business information to get company revenue information quickly and easily, support airport functions, evaluate sales and marketing campaigns, and more. With quick and easy on-demand access to vital information, Open Skies clients could react more nimbly to outmaneuver competitors.

Powering a Growing Generation of Leaders: In the early 2000’s, Navitaire developed a new reservation system based on Microsoft.NET technology called New Skies. Rather than simply re-platforming the Open Skies system, we drew upon the strengths of new technology, our extensive experience and our clients’ changing needs and business models to take our new product offering to the next level. Today, nearly all of Navitaire’s Open Skies system clients have migrated to our New Skies reservation system.

As the industry’s only reservation system completely built on new technology, New Skies gives clients access to a diverse set of features to expand digital commerce, promote cross-sell and up-sell opportunities, link with new industry partners, and create differentiating services to better serve customers.

The New Skies system, together with Navitaire Travel Commerce, Loyalty, Data Store and more provide a powerful, integrated suite of products to help your company revitalize existing services or launch new offerings.