Case study

Etihad: A Partnership to Solve Payments Issues in the Airline Industry

13 Dec 2021


BridgerPay was invited to take part in a challenge by HUB71, an Abu-Dhabi based start-up launchpad backed by Mubadala Investment Company. The challenge involved presenting an 8-week proof of concept (POC) to solve some challenges Etihad is facing with the orchestration of digital payments.

After its initial application was shortlisted, BridgerPay presented the POC directly to Etihad’s decision-makers as one of three finalists. The airline and HUB71 then deemed BridgerPay’s project the best and the two companies started working on the POC. The POC involved iFly, Etihad’s employee ticketing systems, and was completed with success beyond expectations. Now Etihad is about to launch BridgerPay’s orchestration layer across its whole employee ticketing platform.


Kai Ling Ting, Head of Innovation, outlines Etihad’s issues like this: “From installment plans and credit cards to eWallet and real-time bank transfers, Etihad offers almost 30 payment options through our website and mobile app. Tailored to the demands of individual markets, our flexible payment options give our guests the choice to pay in a way that best suits them and their budget. However, managing these individual payment platforms and relationships requires a significant amount of effort and cost. It’s especially difficult to future-proof a system to extend acceptance of new forms of payment easily”. Etihad realized that a payment orchestration software was necessary, so decided to launch a challenge through HUB71. The main challenges to be solved were:

  • Ability to add more PSPs in the future quickly and on-demand
  • Cut down on losses due to declined transactions and subsequent cart abandonment
  • Report on all transactions, independently of the PSP that processed them
  • Simplify accounting
  • Drive acceptance rates up by smartly routing payments
  • Allow employees to pay with any method they wanted (instead of just salary deduction or local cards)


Strong with over three years of experience and research, as well as insights on millions of transactions worldwide, BridgerPay brought to the table a clear plan to solve all Etihad’s challenges in a very short time. The solution encompassed:

  • Etihad’s integration with only one API for easy access to 350+ Payment Service Providers, including the local providers Etihad was seeking
  • Easy management through the drag-and-drop Bridger Router, according to dozens of criteria such as country, currency, value of the transaction
  • Deal with payments, payouts, refunds, and subscriptions all from the same dashboard with Bridger Admin
  • BridgerRetry™, to automatically rescue over 26% of transactions declined for technical reasons
  • Bridger Reports, to get accurate insights on all transactions processed by Etihad, independently of the PSP used
  • Bridger BI, to benefit from the analysis of millions of transactions worldwide
  • Add new PSPs in record time
  • Employees can now purchase flights using the payment method they prefer
  • Upgrade to 3DSv2 for Credit Card Transactions globally for improved security
  • Custom PCI DSS Level 1 compliant checkout

All these features will solve Etihad’s PSP management problems, boost their revenue, and allow the company to save time, money, and resources. Additionally, from a payments perspective, Etihad won’t need to open several entities abroad to accept payments from those countries, hence making their business more cohesive and efficient, not to mention cutting costs drastically.


BridgerPay’s proposal was deemed the best because, in Kai Ling Ting’s words: “BridgerPay impressed us with their plug and play solution which required only a one-time integration that would allow us the ability to unlock and customize unlimited payment options in multiple currencies, and the user-friendly admin dashboard which would allow us to manage payment reconciliations as well as refunds with ease”.

After being chosen, in the space of just 8 weeks BridgerPay proceeded from the initial technical scoping to delivering a working solution through the following steps:

  • Scoping
  • Integration and configuration with MasterCard payment gateway, WorldLine, and PayPal
  • Product integration into iFly
  • Customization, testing, and security assessment
  • Final POC launch

BridgerPay worked closely with Etihad on all steps of the POC. Additionally, BridgerPay also interfaced with MasterCard, WorldLine, and PayPal during the integration process. Being able to bring together all these companies and execute in such a short time showed not only that BridgerPay’s software works well, but also that the company can deliver above and beyond deadline expectations. Etihad’s Head of innovation confirmed: “It’s been a real pleasure working with the BridgerPay team – they have been responsive, accommodating, and professional throughout our engagement and were able to support us in delivering our proof of concept in a short eight weeks! We are looking forward to rolling out their solution for our staff travel platform shortly”. About BridgerPay’s turnaround time, Etihad said: “We took a total of 8 weeks from scope discussion, finalization, approvals to development and delivery of the proof of concept in our sandbox environment. Suffice to say we’re impressed (and delighted) with the speed of the turnaround!


BridgerPay is set to launch in iFly, Etihad’s employee ticketing system with 85,000 transactions a year, in a few weeks. The companies will then be able to measure results and compare them with the pre-BridgerPay era data.

Final quotes

“It’s very exciting to start this collaboration with Etihad Airlines. We are very motivated and we know we can solve the payment challenges that the airline industry is currently facing worldwide. We have been wanting to get into the airline market for some time now, and stepping into it alongside Etihad is a great opportunity. It’s been great working with Etihad so far, and we can’t wait to do more work with them. Finally, I think that winning the HUB71 challenge shows what BridgerPay is capable of and how far this team can go” Ran Cohen Co-Founder and CEO of BridgerPay

“8 weeks from start to finish for the proof of concept, but most importantly, we’re glad to be rolling out a solution with the BridgerPay team that we believe will bring an improved guest payment experience and operational efficiencies for our digital channels!” Kai Ling Ting, Head of Innovation and Digital Technology Etihad Aviation Group

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