The ongoing pandemic has caused a significant shift in the travel industry and in our everyday lives. While many of us stay home to do our part in stopping the spread of COVID-19, there are those who, in addition to our health care workers, continue to provide essential services to support our communities.
On behalf of Sabre, I want to express our sincere gratitude for those in the airline industry who are also helping to move humanity through this crisis. From bringing home displaced passengers and delivering cargo, to shuttling medical professionals into cities that desperately need care—it takes many dedicated teams to make this happen. To our airline partners: Know that your work is appreciated beyond measure.
As you continue to operate essential travel and plan for recovery, we remain focused on providing ongoing support and expertise. Our position within the travel ecosystem allows us to monitor how it’s evolving each day and identify ways to increase efficiency and streamline operations. We stand ready to power your business.
Since we first learned of the growing crisis, our leader Sean Menke’s guidance has been to stay calm, stay focused, and stay rigorous. Striving to live out this mantra, we’ve activated a number of ongoing support measures:
- With the launch of Sabre’s COVID-19 microsite, our Product, Consulting, and Marketing teams are working hard to deliver insights, trend analyses and other information you may find useful. Bringing together all these resources in one place, the site is intended to provide support to the travel industry throughout the crisis.
- In just four days, our teams delivered a custom Sabre Qik Automated Ancillaries Refunds Solution, supported by Sabre Intelligence Exchange reporting, to help airlines handle unprecedented levels of passenger refund backlogs.
- Our technology teams have quickly deployed updates to Crew Manager, enabling airlines to respond to operational disruption in real time, saving weeks of valuable time, money, and most importantly—crew and passenger safety.
- IROPS Reaccommodation has processed as many PNRs in March alone as the last 6 months combined. This solution, with the support of our entire IROPS team, resulted in a savings of approximately 60,000 hours of manual work for our airline partners.
- Our Radixx team worked hand-in-hand with Eastern Airlines in their efforts to repatriate citizens from Latin America by adding routes not previously scheduled, preparing information and supporting all downstream effects of these new flights as quickly as possible.
- To minimize the amount of physical contact between passengers and agents during check-in and boarding, we have put continued focus on working with vendors and government agencies to support secured biometric facial recognition technology.
- With a growing list of needs based on the rapidly evolving environment, Product and Engineering teams have acted quickly to release new capabilities across multiple solutions related to exchanges and refunds. Ticketing, EMD, Travel Bank, Seats, and Check-in have all gained functionality to support new CDC mandates, change fee policies, and other developing criteria.
- Our experts continue to help our partners navigate strategic planning and scheduling—from how to approach social distancing measures through seating arrangements in the near term, to more long-term decisions that analyze feasible schedule scenarios for rapidly changing demand, fleet size, and operational constraints.
I’d like to close with a personal reflection. During my recent time at home, I’ve been recounting the month my family and I were ordered to shelter in place during the 1980 coup d’état in Turkey, where I was born and raised. Much like today, it was an emotional time that was full of daily fear and uncertainty—but it didn’t last forever.
A path forward will always emerge, and once it’s safe again, I’m certain one of the first things people will want to do is travel. To embrace their loved ones. To meet with business partners, face-to-face. To experience new destinations. It’s become clearer than ever during this period of social distancing, no virtual communication can ever fully replace the power of personal connection.
Our industry and our world have certainly changed; we are all doing our best to understand the impact of the crisis amid so much uncertainty. And while no one knows how the landscape will evolve in the post-COVID-19 era, rest assured, we will be navigating it with you. Expect to see additional resources, insights, and more from our team of account managers, product experts and consultants as we work through this challenging time.
Thank you for your valued partnership, we look forward to connecting again in person soon. Stay safe.