Until recently, Russian airlines have used foreign reservation systems, but this practice has become unsafe now with the imposition of international sanctions. Reservation is indeed a part of an extensive process that shall flow in a well-managed and fail-safe manner. In addition, passenger personal data breach hazard also exists.
Since November 1, 2022, all Russian airlines have switched to domestic reservation systems with Leonardo, developed by Sirena-Travel together with Rostec State Corporation, being the major system among them.
Airline reservation system is a platform or application which serves as an “agent” between a carrier and passenger. Such system “remembers” all key information – flight schedule, rates, all reservations and check-in data. In addition to data content, the reservation system communicates and shares information with Global Distribution Systems (GDS). It is thanks to this function that travel agencies and various agent websites can offer online airline reservation services. Despite their high performance, such global systems are actually not a novelty. One of the first GDS was brought into operation as early as in 1960 and still exists under Sabre trademark. Amadeus is currently another major GDS – almost half a billion reservations go through them annually.
Against a background of “direct’ passenger management approach trend, development of Leonardo automated information system (AIS) started in late 2011. Leonardo was officially launched in 2014. During the first two years of operation, most domestic airlines switched to the Russian system.
Until recently, major Russian airlines used mainly foreign provider services, including American Sabre and Spanish Amadeus. However, after implication of Western sanctions, these companies have terminated distribution relationship with Aeroflot. Certainly, the company has not suffered any considerable damage - only one of many ticketing channels has been lost. Exclusion from inventory management systems where all airline operation data is stored is a more awful scenario. This is, in fact, a database used by an airline to control its internal inventory.
Requirements for the automated information system of air transportation handling (AIS ATH) were defined at the government level in August this year. To avoid any hindrances imposed by sanctions and to ensure the passenger data security, the system shall use only Russian software with its databases and servers located exclusively in Russia.
As early as in 2020, Rostec State Corporation offered its own solution in order to speed up the process. Rostec’s subsidiaries RT-Transkom and RT-Project Technologies in cooperation with software developer Sirena-Travel are ready to switch domestic airlines promptly to the Russian-made Leonardo system which is every bit as good as similar foreign systems.
Russian reservation system initially included two options. The first option provides gradual planned shift for airlines. The second option – alternative – is for emergency connection (up to 24 hours) to ensure stable operation, if absolutely necessary.
Without going into details of Leonardo specifications and configuration, it can be said that this system has a set of all traditional options as its predecessors, but high personal data security level is its essential benefit at the same time. And an additional bonus is offered directly to airlines – there is no need to buy foreign licenses which will enable to reduce expenses.
Today, 68 companies use AIS Leonardo, 50 of them are Russian companies with the total traffic about 45 million passengers per year. It is important that Leonardo can cooperate with various types of airlines, including international ones – the system solutions are based on the International Air Transport Association (IATA) standards.
Currently, such Russian airlines as Red Wings, Aurora, Yamal, Utair and Alrosa are already using Leonardo. Pobeda airline joined this list in June 2022 and so did Aeroflot in October, who had used American Sabre platform before. The national airline launched the check-in process in the domestic reservation system on October 29. All technical activities associated with the shift did not affect the operations in any way – flights were performed on time with passengers not noticing anything abnormal.