Pakistan International Airline (PIA) has embarked upon new initiatives to facilitate online payments and offer new payment channels to its passengers by integrating local payment gateways and other payment channels like ATM, branch-less banking and mobile wallets.
According to official documents, in-line with the new business plan, PIA is following new initiatives to facilitate online payments and other improvements in its IT infrastructure:-
- PIA has engaged the Financial Industry, including the leading banks and the Telcos, to offer new payment channels to its passengers. In this regard, a tender is in newspapers to integrate local payment gateways and other payment channels like ATM, branchless banking and mobile wallets.
- Progress has been made in upgradation of IT infrastructure, which was built 10-15 years ago and needs a complete overhaul. The tendering process for Core Network Upgrade, Disaster Recovery Site, and upgradation of Internet bandwidth have been completed and the system will be upgraded by June 2020.
- In order to ensure the convenience of the passengers, PIA is also working to introduce new Baggage Reconciliation System (BRS) by mid-2020, which will help passengers track their baggage journey and also help the airline in bringing efficiency in the baggage management while reducing losses due to baggage reclaims.
- Similarly, for the engineering system, a new Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) system is at the implementation stage and is scheduled to go live by March 2020.
According to the documents available, PIA has changed its core reservation system (Passenger Reservation System – PRS) from a system that was being used exclusively for the last eighteen years. PIA’s new website and mobile Apps (Apple & Android) have been launched to increase its online sales.
PIA is actively promoting and interacting with its customers through online social media channels. Additionally, for the first time, it has entered in contract with all the three major Global Distribution Systems (GDS), which will help PIA increase its visibility on agent networks and also on the online channels like Online Travel Agents (OTAs) and search engines.
Given the old system’s limitations, extra security measures were implemented to ensure that only those passengers were allowed to board a plane who had purchased the tickets using legitimate credit/debit card. As per policy, passengers were required to present the payment card at the time of check-in to avoid fraudulent activity.
However, with the new systems in place, which is compliant to Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards, and also with the help of the introduction of new security tolls effective from October 2019, PIA has revoked the condition of presenting Credit/Debit Cards at the time of check-In. Therefore, now the passengers are not required to present the credit/debit card nor submit any written guarantee letters.