Agents 'failing to cope' with Apis requests

Agents 'failing to cope' with Apis requests

Agents are failing to cope with growing Advance Passenger Information System (Apis) requests and charter carriers are struggling with the consequences.

Researchers at the Open University report leisure carriers are only gathering 40% of Apis requirements in advance of passengers arriving at airports, when scheduled carriers are managing 95%.

Check-in staff have to make up the shortfall, leading to longer queues for passengers. However, agents cannot easily increase the amount of advance information they input because they are struggling to deal with the multiple systems companies use to collate Apis details.

Open University research team leader Dr Kirstie Ball told Travel Weekly: “Each tour operator, cruise company, online company issues separate requests. Budget carriers let people input Apis data immediately on booking, other airlines impose a time limit – for example, eight weeks before departure.

“Agents are chasing customers who have failed to input information, dealing with requests from airlines, handling requests from operators. They all say the same thing - they wish there was one central point for Apis.”

At the same time, a major UK carrier complained to Ball of “Apis records that don’t contain the right details”. An airline executive told her: “We talk to agents about the need for data, but we have to do it all at the airport.”

Apis has imposed multi-million pound costs on the industry, yet Ball says there is no move to standardise systems or the way companies request data.

Her team have gathered extensive evidence of the impact on tour operators, agents, airlines and customer relations. Now Ball wants the industry’s help with further research and is asking insiders to complete an online questionnaire on customer management.

The survey is aimed at heads of marketing and those involved in regulatory affairs. All who complete it will go into a prize draw for a £500 study voucher at the Open University.

But to make the survey worthwhile – and qualify for the £500 prize – you must complete the questionnaire and answer every question.


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