< PrevNext > Rolf Purzer, ATPCO President and CEO Airlines' Best Friend By Dawit Habtemariam / December 10, 2020 / Contact Reporter Share This is Rolf Purzer's second appearance on BTN's Most Influential list, the first being in 2018. It's also likely his last, as Purzer, who has been with ATPCO since 1996 and took over as president and CEO in 2017, is retiring at year-end. He'll finish his term with a bang, as 2020 was a year far different than any other, even for someone with nearly 40 years of industry experience. ATPCO has focused on providing carriers with the technology needed to weather the pandemic and operate in the years ahead in a rough market. "The industry will have to live within tighter guardrails, within tighter budgets, with less people and that is a productivity challenge, among other things," Purzer said. "We pivoted our resources to this type of solution to help the industry to be more productive and do more with less."When Western governments took action against the Covid-19 virus in February and March, travelers stampeded airlines and their distribution channels with demands to change or cancel their tickets. The airline industry, often with manual processes for changing tickets, was overwhelmed. At the same time, airlines canceled flights en masse, leaving corporates and their travelers with unused tickets. For this unprecedented situation, corporates were unsure of the ticket-change rules, and airlines needed flexibility. Within 10 weeks, ATPCO in collaboration with more than 60 airlines and global distribution systems, brought to market the Emergency Flexibility Tool, which allows airlines to automate changes to their rules around ticket changes, allowing tickets purchased before the Covid-19 crisis to be updated. Meanwhile, ATPCO's crisis team in April added to booking content displays its Reassurance Universal Product Attributes, which provides information on health-related procedures and protocols that airlines are taking, such as cabin cleaning and food service hygiene, along with booking flexibility. In October, to help travelers compare airlines' pandemic-related protocols when flight shopping, ATPCO introduced a new standard data format for Universal Product Attributes called "Structured UPAs." The new format builds off Reassurance UPAs and lists the data along five categories: cleaning procedures, including products used and frequency; facial covering requirements; pre-flight temperature checks; seat-blocking policies, such as keeping middle seats vacant; and capacity limits. As of November, 313 airlines, representing 95 percent of all commercial flights, have adopted Structured UPAs. ATPCO intends to expand the format to include topics outside of pandemic policies and procedures.In November, ATPCO introduced Architect, a platform that enables airlines to simplify and consolidate their fare filing processes. With the platform, airlines will have the flexibility to adapt their fares to network changes, which may be caused by the pandemic.Even though his tenure ends at a sad time, Purzer said, "I'm proud over the last four years to have helped ATPCO evolve into an organization that is very much inclined to always bring value to the industry," he said.