Low Cost & Regional

ATPS2024: Return to growth sees airlines invest in payments, but challenges remain

A return to growth globally for aviation is welcome but is presenting new challenges for airlines as they grapple with a proliferation of payment methods.

The Airline and Travel Payments Summit held in London last week heard that additional costs of payments and complexity is presenting a challenge to airlines and travel companies.

Ahmed Bennis, global head of customer success for airline at Outpayce, the stand-alone payments division launched by European travel technology giant Amadeus last year, said a recent industry survey found investment in payments is back.

“Profitability is back,” he said, “airlines are going back to payments as a growth enabler, which is good news for all of us.”

Bennis said 32% of firms Outpayce surveyed plan to “invest aggressively” in payments while over 80% will spend the more or same in the next 12 months.

However, the biggest challenge cited by respondents to the survey was the cost of payments and keeping control of costs, closely followed by cybersecurity and fraud and keeping up with the growing array of payment methods.

“As airlines expand, they are very much comfortable in their region but as soon as you go abroad you have to offer the payment method that’s relevant. That means you have to put in place payment orchestration,” said Bennis.

Issues with chargebacks and refunds were another key headache for survey respondents after orchestrating payment flows. “It’s not only about expanding and opening new markets but it’s also about how to deal with that, how to reconcile these payments.”

When it comes to embracing new payment forms cost was the number one issue followed by developing the technical connection to these platforms.

Respondents to the Outpayce survey also cited lack of resources to integrate with these payment types and the need to understand which payments are relevant and managing connections as key challenges.

Bennis said while it can be difficult to know which payment type is most relevant in each market it is also a challenge to understand the constraints associated with adopting that particular payment method.

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