Exploring The IATA Open Air APIs Posted in Platforms J Simpson March 9, 2023 Airlines rely on the open and free exchange of data and information to function properly. However, much of the necessary data that the airline industry needs to function relies on third-party apps and networks. This makes airlines dependent on outside networks. It also makes the air travel industry miss out on valuable data without the right integrations. In light of this fact, the International Air Travel Association (IATA) unveiled a new API specification, spearheaded by an Open API working group. They recently launched the IATA developer portal, consolidating all airline industry APIs in one place for easy access and discoverability. This is excellent news for developers looking to integrate real-time airline industry data into their products and services, as you won’t have to dig through API directories in search of an API. It’s also good news for airline industry API providers, as it helps put your API in front of more developers. Below, we’ll look at some ways the airline industry is adopting APIs through the Open Air API specification. Some are relatively barebones, and others already offer an impressive array of features. Either way, IATA Open Air APIs can be powerful tools to help create air travel apps and websites. Guide To IATA Open Air APIs IATA divides its APIs into seven categories. These include: Customer Experience Retailing Cargo Flight and Ground Operations Financial Processes Environmental Sustainability Reference Data and Technology Below, we’ll pick out some example APIs that use the Open Air specification. Flight Status API The first Open Air API listed in the directory is simple and straightforward. The Flight Status API has a single endpoint for retrieving details on a flight, getFlightDetails. Air API Air API is an aggregator API for purchasing airline tickets. It lets you search for seats, check seat availability, purchase tickets, and cancel orders through the API. Air API supports six API functions, including one GET and five POST commands. They are: GET GetOrderbyID POST CreateOrder POST Airshopping POST SeatavailabilityByOrderID POST OrderChangeAddSeats POST OfferPrice Air API is bound to be useful for developers building travel apps or websites, as it saves you from having to open multiple windows. Do note that, at the time of this writing, Air API does not have a live environment for testing. Flight Status API Here’s another Flight Status API, which is for Qantas flights. It’s more fully featured than the first Flight Status API we mentioned, as it supports five different GET commands. Qantas Flight Status API accepts: GET getAirports GET getFlightNumber GET getDepartureArrival GET getArrival GET getDeparture Qantas’ Flight Status API also lets you look up info on codeshare flights. It doesn’t have a live test environment yet, either, however. Ticket Validation API Here’s another simple but useful API. Ticket Validation API lets you retrieve ticket information either by ticket number or name. It doesn’t have a live test environment yet, either, unfortunately. MVPaws API MVPaws API is the most fully-featured and robust air travel API we’ve mentioned so far. It’s an elaborate, versatile, useful tool that gives you everything you need for traveling with animals and pets. It even supports a database that can be accessed by pet owners, vets, and third-party applications with the proper clearance. A wide variety of endpoints offer everything you need for creating, writing, updating, and posting pet-related data. MVPaws API is a good example of the high quality of some of the APIs available using the Open Air specification. Passenger API Here’s another barebones API that could be useful for everyone from airlines to travel agents. The Passenger API retrieves passenger manifests and their details. Better still, the Passenger API can be integrated with CRM solutions. Flight Compensations API The Flight Compensations API lets airlines issue and request compensation payments. Flight Compensation API can also be integrated with CRM solutions. Customer Flight Info API The Customer Flight Info API is like an amalgam of a few different flight info APIs we’ve already mentioned. It lets you look up the status of a particular flight and retrieve all of the arrivals and departures for a particular airport. Flex BagDrops API Flex BagDrops API is a barebones API for integrating native or web apps with self-service bag drops. Duffel API Here’s another aggregator API with an impressive array of features and functionality. Duffel API is a portal for travel sellers to search, book, and service flights from 18 different airlines. Baggage API Baggage API is bound to be useful for airlines and public-facing apps alike. It lets the user make queries about their luggage. It also integrates with CRM software. Destinations API Destinations API is another simple API for returning a wealth of helpful information about a particular destination. Destinations API returns data for: Airport Country City Time zone Origin point Destination point Flight Schedules API Last but not least, here’s a useful API for retrieving flight schedule information from Lufthansa, Austrian, Swiss, Air Dolomiti, and Edelweiss airlines. Flight Schedule API also lets you retrieve data for cargo. It even has its own endpoint. Flight Schedules API supports: GET flightschedules/passenger GET /flightschedules/cargo GET /flightschedules Final Thoughts on IATA’s Open Air APIs If you’ve ever tried to build your own air travel app or website, you’ll know it’s an exercise in frustration. Even buying airplane tickets can be a pain, at times, let alone providing a service for consumers or even the airline industry itself. If you’ve ever attempted to create a real-time flight-tracking app or travel destination website, IATA’s Open Air API hub is a cause for celebration. Airlines have reason to celebrate, as well, as they’ll no longer be leaving valuable data on the table. The Open Air API specification is an important step toward airlines being self-sufficient and self-sustaining, so they can better deliver the best possible service for their customers. API standards are an important part of adoption and widespread acceptance. For example, the OpenAPI Specification was an important step in APIs becoming the force they are today. IATA’s Open Air APIs could have a similar effect on APIs’ role in the airline industry. That widespread acceptance would be in everybody’s interest. Open Air APIs will allow airlines to offer a better customer experience, enhancing everything from checking baggage to buying tickets. It’s also in the airlines’ best interest to help them retain customers and unlock new monetization opportunities. As such, these open APIs could become a valuable component of airline travel’s future.