Flying Services outsourced

Global aviation companies are compelled to outsource certain back-end and front-end functions to third party outfits. The aviation sector thus becomes a big job provider in India

There was a time when you said aviation and ticketing and flying could be the only two jobs one could think of. That’s the past. Today, India’s emergence as the cockpit of the global airline industry has opened up a flood-gate of career opportunities. The pie will get even bigger with the global aviation outsourcing share for India expected to grow on par with high-growth niches like banking, financial services and insurance.

Global aviation companies are compelled to outsource their back-end and certain front-end functions to third party outfits. Even large airline companies that operate hundreds of trans-national routes are under tremendous revenue, margin and market pressures.

Outsourcing is the only channel they can think of to tackle these challenges. A large number of international carriers are already outsourcing to India.

Being a highly competitive industry with very thin margins, aviation becomes a natural target for BPO service providers, says an industry expert. Even huge global airline companies are not making enough profit, although the industry is growing exponentially. Challenged by high operational costs, increasing fuel costs, tsunamis, terror attacks and many other external factors, the airline segment has always remained as a low margin game. This is what compels airline operators, travel operators, cruise lines, hotels, and car rental agencies to out source a large number of core and non-core services to cost-effective destinations.

India currently attracts a lion share of travel-tour outsourcing, saving up to 50% of processing cost for clients. The sector also provides a healthy mix of data and voice.

The world’s 150 top airlines share annual revenue of $500 billion, while another over $100 billion comes from small operators. These global players outsource 12% of total services to third parties. Of this, India gets a share of almost 80% while the rest is shared
between Ireland, South America and the Philippines. There is immense scope in aviation on par with financial services and insurance segments. But Indian BPOs have not yet scratched the surface of this business opportunity. The industry may be more akin to banking with services including customer relationship management, revenue accounting and enhancement, fare fixing and passenger name records.

Services outsourced to India

1. Customer relationship management.
2. Transaction processing
3. Account reconciliation for multi-airline payments.
4. Frequent flier services management.
5. Loyalty programs
6. Customer services
7. Fairs.
8. Loading
9. Rebooking.
10. Airline scheduling systems.
11. Cargo management.
12. Reservations and flight enquires.
13. Baggage claim and tracking.
14. Airline revenue accounting.
15. Reconciliation of ticketing across airlines.
16. Commission accounting.

People factor

Aviation related outsourcing alone is likely to employ around 500,000 professionals in India against around a 100,000 currently, according to industry estimates. It opens up a whole host of high-end job opportunities, in addition to opening up a huge opportunity for true-blue tech jobs. Global airline operators are also adopting RFID (radio frequency identification) technology for baggage tracking and luggage identification, and this opens up opens up another vista of career opportunities.

Again, the industry will need experts in Web services, wireless access, m-commerce and biometric identification, in addition to a large number of entrepreneurs who would be needed to man and manage self-service kiosks to support the industry.