Airline Reservation System: Main Aim Research Paper

Table of Content


Main aim of the Airline Reservation System is to help the customers in reserving Air tickets through online. Airline Reservation Systems (ARS) used to be standalone systems. Each airline had its own system, disconnected from other airlines or ticket agents, and usable only by a designated number of airline employees. Travel agents in the 1970s pushed for access to the airlines ‘systems. Today, air travel information is linked, stored, and retrieved by a network of Computer Reservations Systems (CRS), accessible by multiple airlines and travel agents.

The global distribution system (GDS) makes for an even larger web of airline information, not only merging the buying and selling of tickets for multiple airlines, but also making the systems accessible to consumers directly. GDS portals and gateways on the Web allow consumers to purchase tickets directly, select seats, and even book hotels and rental cars. Airline Reservation System (ARS) in conjunction with Global Distribution System (GDS) has led to ease of airline ticketing, flight scheduling and also provided a means for customers to access and book flights from their homes. It has also increased the speed with which information about customers are retrieved and handled for flight scheduling tasks.

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Keywords: Airline Industry, Reservation, System, NB, Deregulation, Network, Computerize, Real-Time, PNR, Fare, Flight Code, Concession, Amadeus, Sabre.


An airline reservation system (ARS) is part of passenger service systems (PSS), which are applications supporting the direct contact with the passenger. The airline reservations system was one of the earliest changes to improve efficiency. ARS eventually evolved into the computer reservations system (CRS). A computer reservation system is used for the reservations of a particular airline and interfaces with a global distribution system (GDS) which supports travel agencies and other distribution channels in making reservations for most major airlines in a single system.

The Research Paper aims to analyse and form a comparison between two companies, Sabre and Amadeus, which provide with airline reservation systems. Sabre Airline Solutions is a subsidiary of Sabre Holdings. The main product of Sabre Airline Solutions is the Sabre Sonic system. This provides departure control, reservations, and, inventory management. Other products include resource management, fares and revenue management, data services, flight planning & management, crew planning & management and frequent flyer systems. Sabre Airline Solutions newly acquired Swedish owned company RM Rocade, merging in a cost-efficient product suite for small and mid-size carriers to whom price is a heavy deciding factor.

The new acquisition makes Sabre Airline Solutions one of the largest-covering players in the airline software market. Amadeus is a computer reservations system (or global distribution system, since it sells tickets for multiple airlines) owned by the Amadeus IT Group with headquarters in Madrid, Spain. The central database is located at Erding, Germany.

The development centre is located at Sophia Antipolis, France. In addition to airlines, the CRS is also used to book train travel, cruises, car rental, ferry reservations, and hotel rooms. Amadeus also provides New Generation departure control systems to airlines. Amadeus IT Group is a transaction processor for the global travel and tourism industry. The company is structured around two key related areas – its global distribution system and its IT Solutions business area. Amadeus is a member of IATA, OTA and SITA. Its IATA airline designator code is 1A.

Literature Review

In the early days of American commercial aviation, passengers were relatively few, and each airline’s routes and fares were tightly regulated by the Civil Aeronautics Board. These were published in a volume entitled The Official Airline Guide, from which travel agents or consumers could construct an itinerary, then call or telex airline staff, which would mark the reservation on a card and file it. This manual system is still used by relatively few travel agents who do not use ARS. As demand for air travel increased and schedules grew more complex, this process became impractical, hence, giving rise to the need of an automated reservation system called Airline Reservation System (ARS). (Wikipedia, 2010) What is ARS?

Airline Reservations System (ARS) is a computerized system used to store and retrieve information and conduct transactions related to air travel. The systems was originally designed and operated by airlines, but were later extended for the use of travel agencies. Major ARS operations that book and sell tickets for multiple airlines are known as Global Distribution Systems (GDS). Airlines have divested most of their direct holdings to dedicated GDS companies, who make their systems accessible to consumers through Internet gateways. Modern GDS typically allow users to book hotel rooms and rental cars as well as airline tickets. Global Distribution Systems (Gds)

Global Distribution Systems (GDS) are subsystems connected to Airline Reservation Systems (ARS) which allows users access to information on flight scheduling and reservation stored in the Airline Reservation System (ARS) database. History of Airline Reservation System (ARS)

American Airlines was the first to establish an automated booking system in 1946. Using a system to track information and improve efficiency was a highly appealing aim in the industry, and drew the attention of other airlines worldwide. The system endured years of development and alterations. Trans-Canada Airlines developed a computer-based system with remote terminals that eventually took over operations in 1953.

The same year, American Airlines worked closely with IBM to develop an improved system, and the Airline Reservation System (ARS) and the Semi-Automatic Business Research System (SABRE) launched thereafter in1960. The network completed set-up in 1964, and it was recognized as the largest data processing system in existence. Later, other airlines invested more in research and development to launch improved systems, and through the late 1960s and early 1970s, airlines established their own systems. United Airlines developed the Apollo Reservation System, and shortly after allowed travel agents access.

The Apollo system was the foundation for many further developments, which spread from just US airlines to European airlines as well. The research and development of Airline Reservation System became a significant aspect of the industry and all its air carrier companies, and partnerships between airlines and technology gurus emerged.(Morrison, Winston 1995)Other airlines soon established their own systems. Delta Air Lines launched the Delta Automated Travel Account System (DATAS) in 1968.

United Airlines and Trans World Airlines followed in1971 with the Apollo Reservation System and Programmed Airline Reservation System (PARS), respectively. Soon, travel agents began pushing for a system that could automate their side of the process by accessing the various ARSes directly to make reservations. Fearful this would place too much power in the hands of agents, American Airlines executive Robert Crandall proposed creating an industry-wide Computer Reservation System to be a central clearinghouse for; other airlines demurred, citing fear of antitrust prosecution. (Wikipedia, 2010)

Airline deregulation occurred in 1978, magnifying the importance of computerized airline reservation systems and their accessibility. During the early 1970s, as travel agents pushed for access to reservation systems, and certain airline executives made investments for the sake of accessing the systems of other airlines, antitrust laws came into focus.

The purpose of the 1978Airline Deregulation Act in the U.S. was to eliminate government control over commercial aviation, and ensure competitive behaviour and fair business practices in the airline industry. Passengers could gain knowledge of market forces and new market entry in the industry.

Information on specific airlines and the industry as a whole became more widely and readily accessible, evolving the airline reservation systems from “standalone” operations toward GDS.(European Parliament, 2008)Of the major types of airline reservation systems, most are linked to GDS to provide information to travel agents, employees of other airlines, and the passengers or potential customers, directly.

The major systems include SABRE, Worldspan, Galileo, Patheo, and Abacus. American Airlines now uses SABRE, also used by Expedia,, and Travelocity. Abacus is used by over 450 individual airlines, over 80,000 hotels, and over 25 countries in Asia. Companies’ like Expedia share their system accessibility directly with consumers. Today, about six major airline reservations systems are used by international airlines. (Winston, Clifford 1995).

Data Collection

Research methodology- The process used to collect information and data for the purpose of making business decisions. The methodology may include publication research, interviews, surveys and other research techniques, and could include both present and historical information. To achieve the objective of this research paper, secondary data was collected from the internet and analysed to form a comparison of the two companies.

Data Analysis

Sabre- Main Features

Sabre Sonic is an integrated reservations, departure control, and inventory system and e-commerce platform for airline reservation system. Airlines have the freedom to execute their unique customer strategy with a flexible solution and trusted partner with SabreSonic® Customer Sales & Service (CSS).

SabreSonic CSS is the industry’s only seamless solution enabling powerful points of sale and service – Web, mobile, kiosk and agent. Their flexible, end-to-end customer sales and service solution delivers unique, revenue-generating and customer-focused capabilities at a lower cost. At its core is reservations, the world’s most popular departure control system, and the leading Internet booking engine, supported by pricing and shopping, inventory, ticketing, and accommodation. SabreSonic CSS enables customers to:

  • Generate revenue at a lower cost
  • Increase customer loyalty while delivering your brand promise Control direct distribution channel
  • Utilize a proven delivery model and leverage expertise
  • Operate in all regions, alliances and across business models.

Amadeus- Main Features

A computer reservation system (CRS) is based on a large central computer, or mainframe, in a central location serving many different sites, such as travel agencies and airline ticket offices. A reservation system that provides service to users in both hemispheres may also be referred to as a global distribution system (GDS).

The Amadeus central computer, located in Erding, near Munich, Germany, is the largest reservation system in Europe. Amadeus provides access to airline flight schedules, fare information, hotel rates, car rentals, and other essential travel data. When a reservation is booked by a travel agency, the information is stored by Amadeus and sent to the vendor. In many cases, Amadeus can provide direct access to the airline reservation system. Amadeus provides displays for more than 300 participating passenger carriers.


This thesis proves beyond reasonable doubt, the impact of computerized airline reservation system on the growth of the aviation industry in terms of accurate record keeping, speed in response to ticketing/ticket reservation, efficiency in information handling and reliability and cost effectiveness.


Airline Reservation System (ARS) has led to ease of airline ticketing, flight scheduling and also provided a means for customers to access and book flights with ease and in time. It has also increased the speed with which information about customers are retrieved and handled and flight scheduling is tasked.


Owing to the ease and comfort of Airline Reservation Systems, local flights which are not on the system should be encouraged to compensate the system. Secondly, the system should be made affordable so as to encourage consumers and travel agents on patronizing the system.


  1. C. Winston, S. Morrison (1995): “The Evolution of the Airline Industry”, Brookings Institution Press, South Dakota, Cf. p. 61-62, Computer Reservation Systems

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