Decoding airline industry acronyms

30 April 2021
cards with definitions written on them

Are you trying to figure out what your colleague is talking about when they’re droning on about the ASKs LLCs get from their O&Ds? Or what fares to create for all those INFs doing VFR as travel begins to recover?

NP. We can explain some common alphabet salads so you’re ready for your next meeting.

Of course, there are thousands of acronyms in this business, so we’ll go through just a few terms in each of these groups:

Travel & business terms                Organizations and communities

Terms for coding pros                    Accounting and measuring

You can find many more abbreviations and terms that airline pricing folks use in our glossary.

callout- travel and business terms

Common terms in our industry

Let’s start with some common business terms and acronyms in the travel industry.

Types of companies

BPO

Business Process Outsourcing

LCC

low-cost carrier

OTA

online travel agency

TMC

travel management company


Types of systems and technologies

API

application programming interface

CMS

content management system

CRS

computer reservation system

DAM

digital asset management

DCS

departure control system

GDS

global distribution system

IBE

internet booking engine

LMS

learning management system

PSS

passenger servicing system

RMS

revenue management system (inventory, optimization, forecast)


Then we have abbreviations for basic concepts in travel.

CXR

carrier (airline)

O&D or OD

origin and destination

OW

one way

PAX

passenger

PNR

passenger name record

RT

round trip

SLA

service level agreement

VFR

visiting friends and relatives  ←likely an area of early traffic recovery!

 

title callout - organizations and communities

Working together

It’s a big industry! There are airline groups, provider associations, and communities of like-minded people with common goals.

A4A

Airlines for America

industry advocacy group in the United States

ACH

Airlines Clearing House

facility for settling accounts receivable among airlines worldwide

ARC

Airlines Reporting Corporation

ticket transaction settlement services between airlines and travel agencies or travel management companies

ATPCO

Airline Tariff Publishing Company

source for complete pricing and retailing data that is the foundation of the commercial airline industry

IATA

International Air Transport Association

international industry trade group

OAG

Official Aviation Guide

publishes flight schedules

SITA

Societe Internationale de Telecommunications Aeronautiques

air transport communications and IT

UATP

Universal Air Travel Plan

network that handles payments in travel industry

 

callout - coding pros in the know

Terms for current and future coding pros

Understanding who’s involved is good to know, but now we actually need to get some work done.

First are all the codes, like IATA’s two-character codes for airlines and three-letter codes for cities and airports. There are also three-letter codes for currencies, and you’ll find all of these used in ATPCO systems and throughout the industry.

Let’s define some other abbreviations that pop up when you’re coding fare products.

Cat

category

how ATPCO organizes data elements in our Rules system; for example, Category 1 has the data elements for passenger eligibility so you can indicate a fare is available only to passengers who are clergy

FNT
or FN

footnote

a flexible way to add restrictions on a fare for travel dates, sales dates, or other special conditions

HEPA

high-efficiency particulate air

a type of filter that removes particles from the air; used in some aircraft and of interest during the pandemic

INF

infant without a seat

a passenger type for infants who will be held in a lap during the journey (INS is for infants with their own seat)

PTC

passenger type code

says who is eligible to use a fare, such as an infant or a member of the military; the default is ADT, adult

SSIM

 

Standard Schedule Information Manual

IATA’s standards for exchanging information about flight schedules

UDG

user-defined group

in ATPCO systems, these little babies let you keep together data you code all the time so you don’t have to enter it over and over and over

UPA

universal product attribute

images, messaging, and videos that describe the experience a traveler can expect on a particular flight

UTA

universal ticket attribute

a consumer-friendly description of the benefits and restrictions for a particular fare

YQ/YR or CIF

carrier-imposed fees

fees airlines charge to recover extra costs such as for fuel or insurance


And here are some terms for organizing, measuring, and charging for fare products.

HIP

higher intermediate point

a city between the origin and destination of the through international fare component that has a higher fare

MPM

maximum permitted mileage

helps you set levels where very long trips should incur a surcharge

NUC

neutral unit of construction

a sort of imaginary baseline currency that makes it easier to do math when you’re creating fares that involve different real-life currencies

PFC

passenger facility charge

fees that United States airports can collect for each passenger who boards a plane there

RBD

reservation booking designator

one or two letters at the beginning of the fare class that identify the type of fare and usually refer to the cabin, such as Y for Economy

TPM

ticketed point mileage

 

a way to measure distances in itineraries: between ticketed points


Let’s also review some systems and concepts for managing fare products and creating offers travelers can purchase.

GFS

Government Filing System

an ATPCO automated system that combines fare and rule data and electronically files the changes to governments that require it or for carriers to display or distribute

NDC

New Distribution Capability

a program to create an XML standard that travel sellers can use to connect directly to airlines

NGS

Next Generation Storefront

a program and standard for retailing data that travel sellers can use to create shopping displays for travelers

 

callout - Accounting and measuring

Following the money

Sweet! Fare products are in the market! Now we look at how they performed and how to settle the accounts between partners on fares that involve more than one airline.

BSP

billing settlement plan

centralized point for money and data to flow between agents and airlines

BSR

banker’s selling rate

a common measurement of ROE

EMD

electronic miscellaneous document

how every fee or charge beyond the ticket is sold and tracked

IET

interline electronic ticket [agreement]

an agreement between airlines so a person can use one ticket on an itinerary with travel on more than one airline

ISR

Industry Sales Record

data about sold tickets that is used for revenue accounting functions

PIPPS

Passenger Interline Pricing/Prorate System

30 years of historical fare, rule, and surcharge data that ATPCO keeps for audits and settlement

RATD

Revenue Accounting Tax Database

tax amounts for interline tickets

RFIC

reason for issuance code

a single letter that identifies the type of service an EMD belongs to, for example, C for baggage

ROE

rate of exchange

the relationship between two currencies

SPA

special prorate agreement

an interline agreement that defines financing, invoicing, and settlement between the airlines


And finally, let’s take the 36,000-foot view (See what we did there?) of the overall health of an airline’s traffic—its capacity and its operations.

ASK or ASM

available seat kilometers/miles

seats × distance

measures an airline’s available passenger capacity; it is the number of available seats multiplied by distance flown

ATK

available tonne kilometers

(pax + cargo tonnes) × distance

measures an airline’s capacity for both passenger and cargo, multiplied by the distance flown

FTK

freight tonne kilometers

cargo tonnes × distance

measures and airline’s cargo capacity; it is the number of tonnes of freight on an aircraft multiplied by the distance flown

PLF

passenger load factor

RPK ÷ ASK or RPM ÷ ASM

measures how much of an airline’s passenger capacity is used (full seats versus empty seats); calculated by dividing RPMs/RPKs by ASMs/ASKs

RPK or RPM

revenue passenger kilometers/miles

# pax × distance

measures actual passenger traffic by multiplying the number of revenue passengers by the distance they traveled


Still stumped? Use our glossary to look up more acronyms and terms.



Come to Elevate 2021!

 

author-img

By Siobhan Sheehan

During her 20 years as Editor at ATPCO, Siobhan has been defending the right of airline industry professionals to be communicated with in simple language. She divides her time among publishing content, ensuring consistent communications, checking grammar, and describing complicated concepts and systems in plain terms. She graduated summa cum laude from Immaculata University in Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in English and earned her master’s degree in writing, literature, and publishing from Emerson College, Boston.