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SAP and the International Air Transport Association Co-Pilot a New Billing Solution


SAP NEWSBYTE - Managing the billing processes for a large company can be difficult, but it is a real challenge when tackling them for an entire industry. SAP AG (NYSE: SAP) has joined forces with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), an international trade body that represents some 230 airlines and 93 percent of scheduled air traffic worldwide, in developing a solution to streamline the organization’s invoicing and payment system.

IATA operates the Clearing House, which enables fast, secure intra-industry settlements of invoices. The association recently introduced the Simplified Interline Settlement (SIS) project, aiming to simplify interline billing and remove paper from the settlement process, helping to deliver tangible financial benefits to the industry. SIS is scheduled to go live in the fourth quarter 2011, and for all settlements through IATA’s clearing house, SIS will be mandatory by 2013.

Because more than 140 airlines are SAP customers and already create or receive invoices within their SAP systems, IATA contacted SAP and its customer working groups to develop a connectivity package that meets these requirements. Invoices that require settlements come from passenger, cargo or miscellaneous IT systems, all of which must meet the requirements for SIS integration. The package, which is now available, enables the exchange of these digitally signed documents, as well as XML documents of any format, including the IS-XML Invoice, and supporting documents. This connector is available in the enterprise resource planning (ERP) application SAP® ERP 6.0, enhancement package 4 and up.

“We have been working closely with SAP and SAP’s customer user group to define the best solution for airlines to cover our SIS requirements for miscellaneous invoices,” said Aleks Popovich, senior vice president, Industry Distribution and Financial Services, IATA. “Once the solution was developed by SAP, we checked the compliance of a test invoice coming from the SAP application. It completely fits our SIS requirements.”

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