Airlines and ATPCO Form Open AXIS Group to Promote Acceptance and Adoption of Connectivity Standards

TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – July 13, 2010) – Air Canada, American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and US Airways have formed the Open AXIS Group. The Open AXIS (Airline XML Integration Standard) Group was created to promote a standardized XML (eXtensible Markup Language) schema as the optimal electronic messaging structure for airline system connectivity used in content distribution. The Group also invited the Airline Tariff Publishing Company (ATPCO) to serve as the founding Allied Member.

The Open AXIS Group’s mission is to expand the adoption, promotion, enhancement and maintenance of a robust airline industry standardized XML schema capable of delivering comprehensive functionality to both the supply and demand sides of the travel supply chain. The Open AXIS Group will also function as a travel industry resource and forum for all industry entities interested in the use of XML as a standard in general, and in the Open AXIS Group’s XML standard specifically. The Open AXIS Group will advocate on behalf of its membership in the promotion of industry standards and distribution practices.

Travel industry veteran and standards advocate Jim Young has been selected by the Open AXIS Group to serve as its Executive Director. Young has extensive airline distribution and marketing experience, and was intricately involved in the formation of the Open Travel Alliance standards group. A driver and champion of transformational programs, Young is Managing Partner at strategy consultancy Festival Vacations and has held executive-level positions with Frontier Airlines, Festival Airlines, Intercontinental Hotels Group and Continental Airlines.

“ATPCO’s mission is to lead the airline industry in defining standards and implementing industry solutions,” states Jim Young. “The Open AXIS Group has recognized ATPCO’s success as an airline advocate and standards body. While the Open AXIS Group is an independent standards organization, it strategically sought out ATPCO’s participation to assist the Open AXIS Group in maintaining common standards integrity and interoperability with the existing ATPCO standards.”

There is no requirement to join Open AXIS Group to use its messaging standard. The Group’s standard XML schema is open and available to all. “Anyone can visit our web site, register as a user, and download the schema and available documentation,” adds Young. “We plan on being an open, transparent and inclusive group. Having an organization focused on promoting standardized airline XML connectivity is critical for our industry. While there are established standards groups, none are focused solely on airline XML connectivity. The Open AXIS Group is structured to respond quickly to the fast-paced needs of the airlines.”

“The Open AXIS Group was formed out of the industry’s requirement for more standard connectivity between airlines and third party distributors in support of merchandised content,” adds Graham Wareham, Senior Director of Distribution at Air Canada. “With the growth of optional services and airline merchandising gaining global airline interest, the creation of the Open AXIS Group becomes more timely than ever.”

The Open AXIS Group’s standard XML schema supports the full range of airline transactions, from straightforward booking and PNR management transactions, to more complex transactions involved with multiple passenger management, ticketing, exchange, refunds, voids and the various merchandising related transactions including optional services, bundling, and EMD management.

“Having an industry standard XML schema is critical for the airlines but also for all the third-party developers working in partnership with airlines,” adds Cory Garner, Director of Merchandising Strategy at American Airlines. “Development and integration resources are always a scarce asset in any company. Having this standard provides a one-stop shop for modern airline connectivity. In today’s environment, no one can afford to support multiple, one-off connections.”

The Open AXIS Group’s Board of Directors consists of representatives from the Group’s initial founding members, as well as ATPCO. Other airlines from around the world have also expressed their interest, and intend on becoming members of this new airline standards group. 

Membership in the Open AXIS Group is available in two categories:

  • Full Membership:  Full members have the right to actively engage in and vote on all matters put before the membership, including matters relating to enhancements and extensions to the Group’s XML standard. This membership category is available to airlines only.
  • Allied Membership:  Allied members include those seeking to provide feedback on, and participate in, regular communications about the Group’s XML standard including a voice in recommending future enhancements. This membership category is available to non-airlines.

Membership is now officially open, with application materials for both Full and Allied members available on the Open AXIS Group’s web site at

About the Open AXIS Group

Open AXIS Group is a member-based, not-for-profit organization. Its primary goal is advocacy and promotion of the eXtensible Markup Language (XML) as the optimal electronic messaging structure for airline system connectivity used in content distribution. In support of this purpose, the Open AXIS (Airline XML Integration Standard) Group intends to adopt, promote, enhance and maintain standardized XML schema tailored to the airline industry that is capable of delivering comprehensive functionality to both the supply and demand sides of the travel supply chain on a worldwide basis.

Follow Open AXIS Group on Twitter (@OpenAXISGroup), become a fan on Facebook or connect on LinkedIn. Find out more, become a member or register and download the Open AXIS Group’s schema at

Note to Editors: Open AXIS Group will host a conference call at 10:00 a.m. EDT on July 13 to discuss the formation of the Group with media and industry analysts. Designated numbers are 1-800-695-3979 for North America or +1 416-981-9094 for International. Participants are asked to dial in approximately 10 minutes before the scheduled call time.

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