Russian officials demanded patriotism from Russian airlines

Rosaviatsiya requires from carriers Russian software.
After the failure of the ticket booking system SITA Gabriel, which on June 24 during the World Cup 2018 caused delays in the registration of S7 passengers, the Russian aviation authorities again returned to the idea of ​​accelerated transfer of airlines to domestic IT systems. Regulators are motivating this with the risk of data leakage from passengers from servers abroad. Until now, the industry has been able to fend off proposals to switch to national IT-analogues, stating that this is a technically complex and costly process.

The head of the Federal Air Transport Agency Alexander Neradko called for speeding up the transition to the use of Russian automated systems for booking and distributing air tickets, the ministry said. The reason for the announcement was the global failure in the passenger service system (PSS) of SITA Gabriel on June 23 that during the World Cup, it caused many hours of delay when registering for S7 flights. Similar problems were reported by Air India. In SITA, the problems were explained by "failure in one of the automated registration systems" and "difficulties with connecting to the network in one of the data centers".

In addition, according to Rosaviatsiya, the databases used by the traffic registration systems are located abroad, which "implies weak protection of the personal data of Russian citizens". To reduce the risks of data leakage on domestic transport, Mr. Neradko urged to accelerate the transition to the placement of servers and data bases of passengers in the Russian Federation. He also proposed to accelerate the creation of a national air traffic registration system in order to "ensure the complete confidentiality of the personal data of Russian passengers" and "exclude dependence on foreign systems".

Airlines use two types of IT systems. The passenger service system (PSS) stores data on airline flights, the distribution system (GDS) operates on an open agent market - a network of cash desks, including online portals. According to the Transport Clearing Chamber for the year 2017, Saber Sonic is leading the PSS in Russia (it is used by Aeroflot with a capacity of 43-45 million passengers per year), the second place belongs to the Russian Leonardo (30-35 million people a year), the third - SITA Gabriel with 15 million people (S7 and Yakutia), the fourth Amadeus Altea - 7-8 million passengers ("Ural Airlines"). The leader of the GDS sector is the Russian "Sirena-Travel", the second place is from Amadeus, followed by Sabre and Travelport. The data on transportation is stored in the inventory centers, their servers are located abroad (except for the Sirena-Travel).

The idea to replace foreign systems with a national analogue has been actively promoted by the government for several years. The problem was solved by creating a Russian reservation system (such an attempt was made by Rostek in 2014) or adaptation of international systems - the transfer of data storage in the Russian Federation, which is required by the law on the protection of personal data. However, airlines managed to achieve an exception for themselves, otherwise ticket sales could stop. But in early July, the Ministry of Transport revived the idea by publishing a draft of the requirements for the domestic inventory system. The document suggested that from 2020 in Russia, servers and databases of systems for booking and selling air transportation within the country, passenger registration and mutual settlements were transferred. The system provider must also be registered in the Russian Federation.

Airlines have not yet commented on these ideas. But in July, S7 announced that it will leave SITA on Altea PSS Amadeus in the fall (this was reported by Kommersant in November 2017). The source of Kommersant in one of the largest carriers says that such systems "are being developed for decades and there is not yet a full replacement for a foreign analogue in the country." In Sirena-Travel, Kommersant said that 54 companies of the Russian Federation are stored on its servers in Russia, and the system itself has "technical capabilities for further capacity expansion." "The company meets all high international standards and has all the necessary certificates," the company told Kommersant. Amadeus told Kommersant that they monitor the peculiarities of the legislation of different jurisdictions in order to comply with them, the company is interested in working in the Russian market.

Fyodor Borisov, chief expert at the Institute of Transport Economics and Transport Policy of the Higher School of Economics, believes that the Russian product should at least not be inferior to international systems and should be integrated with them. The introduction of such a system should not lead to the isolation of Russian airlines from the international market or to additional expenses for work in two systems, he believes.