< PrevNext > Rolf Purzer, ATPCO president & CEO Makeover Artist By Jay Boehmer / December 12, 2018 / Contact Reporter Share ATPCO has been around for 53 years, and its first acquisition didn't come until 2018. "I thought that ATPCO was like the IRS of the industry," joked the seller, Routehappy founder and CEO Robert Albert. He may not be alone in casting ATPCO as a glamour-less piece of legacy airline infrastructure. Yet, like airline distribution itself, the airline-owned entity is undergoing a digital transformation.When Purzer joined in early 2017, he set out to modernize ATPCO, and the Routehappy acquisition represents a pivotal moment in its transition from a mainframe-based clearinghouse of fare and rules data to a cloud-based enabler of "retailing, customized offers, rich content, dynamic pricing in all channels, and that includes NDC," Purzer said.Launched in 2011, Routehappy has scores of customers, including distributors, online travel agencies, corporate booking systems and airlines that tap into its airline amenity data. Expedia, Google and Sabre are among them. It also operates the Routehappy Hub, which helps airlines like Delta and United manage and distribute photos, product descriptions and service attributes on their flights. Routehappy has become the closest thing to an industry standard for the management of airline rich content and amenity data, an admitted gap for ATPCO.Further, Purzer said, "Our target was to absorb some of their much more agile culture, and we are intentionally trying to implement that and change the genes of ATPCO." To that end, ATPCO and Routehappy teams are collaborating on product development, especially where ancillary airline products, rich content and retailing meet. ATPCO and Routehappy this year kicked off the Next Generation Storefront, which has been piloted with large U.S. carriers to bring more consistent characterizations of airline product offerings to shoppers, "similar to what happens in the hotel industry where you shop two-star or three-star hotels," said Purzer. "The industry has to decide what are these like-type airline products and services that can be put into a category—maybe good, better, best or one-star, two-star, three-star—and to place that in all channels but particularly the indirect channels so that comparison shopping is made available." The endeavor is just beginning, and industry stakeholders will hash out the particulars, with ATPCO as a facilitator and technology enabler. Further, in its push to modernize and stay relevant in next-generation airline distribution, ATPCO and SITA launched the NDC Exchange, a translation layer that lets airlines, travel sellers and others in the ecosystem more easily consume application programming interfaces that align with the New Distribution Capability standard. Air Canada, British Airways and United, as well as travel sellers and tech companies, are using it.