Peter Smith VP, Strategic Partnerships, Travel at Cover Genius – Customer trust, personalisation, and future trends
At Aviation Festival Asia, Peter Smith VP, Strategic Partnerships, Travel at Cover Genius joined us for a brief interview. The conversation explored the nuances of travel protection and its connection to the aviation industry.
Travel insurance represents a rapidly growing industry. In 2021, the value of the marketplace was approximately $14 billion, by 2031 this is estimated to reach $125 billion. However, customers are disillusioned with the industry. During the conversation, Smith discussed the repercussions of the pandemic, who holds customer trust in the aviation industry, personalisation, future trends, the importance of convenience, and more.
Cover Genius is the insurtech for embedded protection. Through XCover, its global distribution platform for any insurance or other type of protection, the insurtech protects the global customers of the world’s largest digital companies including Booking Holdings, owner of Booking.com and Agoda, Intuit, Ola, Ryanair, Turkish Airlines, Descartes ShipRush, Zip, MakeMyTrip and many more.
What major changes have the industry undergone since the pandemic, based on what you have seen at Cover Genius? How do you think these effects have altered the industry in the long term?
What can be done to improve customer trust in the industry?
How do you best tailor product/price to the customer’s specific needs?
Could you identify some future trends for travel protection?
Interview with Mike Szucs, CEO of Cebu Pacific Air – Digitalisation and growth
At Aviation Festival Asia Mike Szucs, CEO of Cebu Pacific Air joined for an interview, during which we followed up on our conversation from the end of 2022 and explored some new themes. On a margin basis, Cebu Pacific went into the pandemic as one of the consistently most profitable airlines in the world. Although it has recovered comparatively slower than other airlines, it returned to profitability last year and is now looking to a strong 2023 and 2024.
The discussion began with an exploration of digitalisation, looking at its growth through the pandemic, and the ways it complements LCCs in particular. Here, Szucs pointed to how it helps deliver lower cost, gives the customer agency, and more before exploring ways it lends itself to recent changes in the workforce.
The interview also touched on the return of China, international markets more broadly speaking, and Cebu Pacific’s capacity in line with the recovery of the market. During the course of the conversation, the airline CEO also described shifts in passenger behaviours and plans for next year.
Interview with Damien Cramer, Global Head of Travel and Airlines at Worldline Global – The post-pandemic payments landscape
In this interview at Aviation Festival Asia, Damien Cramer, Global Head of Travel and Airlines at Worldline Global, discusses three influential payment trends that have emerged post-Covid, shares his thoughts on the rate of digital payment adoption as a consequence of the pandemic, and answers the challenging question: how can airlines keep pace with the digital payments evolution?
During this five-minute conversation, Cramer covers shifting passenger expectations, highlights the dangers of chasing the wrong payment options, and more.
Worldline is a global leader in the payments industry.
What payment trends are you seeing in the airline space post-Covid?
Do you think digital payments adoption has accelerated since the pandemic?
How can airlines keep pace with the digital payments evolution?
Richard Nuttall, CEO SriLankan Airlines – Keynote interview, “There is absolutely no reason why this airline doesn’t make money going forward.”
In a keynote interview at Aviation Festival Asia, SriLankan Airlines CEO Richard Nuttall joined Brian Sumers on stage. During the 15-minute session titled “Evaluating new business models and driving sustainable growth,” Nuttall began by explaining why SriLankan Airlines defaulted on a US dollar bond in February, providing further context for the situation.
From this starting point, the airline CEO described the various challenges SriLankan Airlines has faced and how it plans to overcome them moving forward. From fleet size to successful markets, jet fuel shortages to carrier models Nuttall explains the airline’s strategy for building towards a bright future.
Interview with Kian Gould, Chairman of Omnevo – E-commerce, ancillaries, and consumer behaviour
In this interview Kian Gould, Chairman of Omnevo, discusses the biggest changes in consumer behaviour and their causes, trends in travel retail, the differences between an airline and an airport’s digital relationship to the passenger, an informative breakdown of ancillary revenues, and more.
Throughout the conversation, the Omnevo Chairman also explores how the pandemic shifted customers’ relationship with e-commerce and explains how the company reduced one airline’s food waste by approximately 70 per cent.
Omnevo represents next-level digital ancillary revenue and operations empowerment. Their products allow providers to regain full control of their omnichannel retail customer engagement while leveraging the power of e-commerce marketplaces.
What changes have Omnevo noticed in consumer behavior over the last two years?
How did the Omnevo platform support Singapore airlines during the crisis, particularly the grounding of fleets? And how is it supporting them now through the recovery?
KrisShop is the industry benchmark for digital ancillary revenue right now how do you see such platforms evolving in the next 5 years?
Interview with Choo Mun Fai, Vice President Digital Innovation at Singapore Airlines
KrisLab, Singapore Airlines’ digital innovation lab was the official Innovation Partner for Aviation Festival Asia 2023.
Launched in 2018, KrisLab catalyses the digitalisation of the Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group. The team works with a range of technology including blockchain, mixed reality devices, artificial intelligence, and data analytics. They also work with start-ups from around the world to co-develop creative digital solutions to challenges relating to the travel and aviation industry, as well as be a test bed for technology-related projects.
In this short, ten-minute interview, Mun Fai explains more around KrisLab and its achievements, exploring the dynamics of the pandemic and some of the solutions the lab has produced. Furthermore, the VP of Digital Innovation also discusses the industry from a broader perspective, explaining the importance of digital transformation, and outlining the types of innovation required to progress as an industry.
Interview with Ayman Aboabah, CEO King Abdulaziz International Airport – Managing high demand exceeding capacity
At Aviation Festival Asia, Ayman Aboabah, CEO King Abdulaziz International Airport joined for a fifteen minute interview discussing growth and the management of high demand exceeding capacity.
Demand for the airport is already high and continues to increase. Acting as the gateway for pilgrims to the Holy Mosques (Hajj and Umrah), King Abdulaziz International Airport plays a key role in shaping the passenger journey for many of the world’s Muslim population. Added demand stems from the growth encouraged by Vision 2030, the transformative economic and social reform blueprint which is shaping the future of the Kingdom’s travel and tourism sector. As the airport experiences increased pressure from demand, it must maximise capacity and optimise processes.
How does digital transformation assist in achieving the goals of Vision 2030?
Do you anticipate any difficulties in managing high demand exceeding capacity, and what strategies will you employ to mitigate them?
Interview with Neetan Chopra, Chief Digital and Information Officer, IndiGo. Navigating the digital landscape – ChatGPT, staying competitive with other industries, and impactful trends
In this ten-minute interview with Neetan Chopra, IndiGo the Chief Digital and Information Officer shared his views on the transformation of the industry. The beginning of the discussion approached this topic from a broad scope, looking at the APAC region’s relationship with digital and identifying the challenges it brings.
The second half of the interview narrows in on specific uses cases of generative AI, discussion of the transformative potential of ChatGPT, and the selection of two inspiring trends set to make substantial changes to the industry.
From discussion of what makes the “the nurturing ground for transformation” to using digitisation to bridge industries, this interview is packed full of insight.
Why is the APAC region uniquely suited to leading the digital transformation of the industry?
What is the greatest challenge in the digital era and how do you overcome this at Indigo?
Looking at customer experience, does digitisation give aviation the tools it needs to compete with other industries?
Could you identify some of the most powerful use cases for generative AI, across the business? Do you see it having the potential to transform the industry?
Which tech trends do you foresee having a significant impact on the digitisation of operations?
Interview with Jeff Pan, Chief Product Officer, AirAsia Teleport – ChatGPT, future trends, and start ups
Jeff Pan, Chief Product Officer, AirAsia Teleport joined for a five-minute interview discussing the geography of start ups, tech’s evolving position within the aviation industry, and top trends set to impact the industry in a significant way.
One key topic explored is ChatGPT’s potential. Here, the Chief Product Officer explains the ways generative AI is already elevating productivity and the specific areas he does not see the technology making waves.
Southeast Asia in particular has been identified as primed for rapid expansion of start ups, how would you describe the start up ecosystem in the APAC region as a whole?
What needs to change for the aviation industry to rival other sectors in terms of digital services?
What do you see as the biggest barriers to innovation in the industry and how can they be addressed?
Can you describe the significance of ChatGPT? Where will we see it making tangible changes to the industry if any?
Which trends do you foresee having the greatest impact on the industry in the next three years?
Interview with Bryan Porter, Chief Revenue Officer, Datalex – Insights into retail and distribution
Datalex is a market leader in digital commerce for travel retail, helping airlines to drive revenue and profit. At Aviation Festival Asia, Bryan Porter, Datalex’s Chief Revenue Officer, joined for a five-minute interview to discuss some areas of the retail and distribution space.
During the conversation, Bryan reveals the key to taking control of airlines’ “distribution destiny” as well as drawing out some of the most useful insights from the company’s global research report. These include the one factor that makes passengers 70 per cent more likely to purchase ancillary products and details of the digitalisation’ gap which “highlights an expectation disparity between airlines and their customers.”
How can airlines take control of the distribution destiny?
Your recent global research report provided the market with some really interesting insights related to the digital retailing experience. What were some key call outs, and any specific to the APAC region?
How is Datalex addressing the clear revenue opportunity of bundling and what associated challenges are Datalex overcoming for airlines with regards to bundling?
Interview with Chai Eamsiri, CEO THAI Airways – Embracing digital
This short interview with Chai Eamsiri, explores THAI Airways’ evolving relationship with digitisation. In line with their rehabilitation plan, the airline has shifted their approach, positioning digitisation at its heart. This evolution translates across the company from running operations with half the previous staffing levels to the different ways of reaching out to customers.
How are digital investments helping to grow your airline’s revenue?
What changes have you made to enhance the sales experience for your customers?
How will the return of China’s tourist market impact your strategy?
Interview with Aldric Chau, General Manager Digital, Cathay Pacific Airways Limited – Generative AI, data science, and tech trends
In this insightful interview with Aldric Chau, General Manager Digital, Cathay Pacific Airways Limited, the conversation explores the prevalence of data science and digital innovations for the industry broadly, before focusing in on how they materialise at Cathay Pacific.
Here, Aldric also identifies the tech trends he foresees having the greatest impact on the industry in the next few years and explores the potential of generative AI and ChatGPT.
In what ways has data science influenced the industry, and how is Cathay Pacific leveraging this?
Can you explain what drives Cathay Pacific’s digital transformation?
Would you be able to outline some of the digital product innovations with the most power to transform the industry?
Could you name two or three tech trends that you think will have the biggest impact on the industry in the coming year?
Interview with Andreas Slettvoll, CEO CHOOOSE – Sustainability and regional trends
At Aviation Festival Asia 28th February – 1 March 2023, Andreas Slettvoll, CEO CHOOOSE discussed some of the climate-focused tech company’s recent partnerships, explored sustainability trends in the APAC region, and explained the dynamics between carbon capture and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), all in this five-minute interview.
From the geographical nuances of sustainability to the dynamics of corporate travel emissions, this brief interview gives a useful insight into the factors at play in reducing aviation emissions.
Could you tell us a bit about your partnership with JetBlue and what is happening here?
Could you explain your partnership with SAP and how the client app will help corporate travellers reduce their emissions?
What trends are you seeing in the APAC region with regards to discussions around sustainability?
Could you explain a bit about carbon capture’s relationship to SAF?
Interview with Dr. Kerem Kızıltunç, CIO Turkish Airlines – Technology and the aviation industry
This 15-minute interview with Dr. Kerem Kızıltunç, CIO Turkish Airlines and General Manager of Turkish Airlines Technology, covers a wide range of topics varying from the most promising use cases of generative AI to the redesigning of Turkish Airlines’ tech infrastructure to support digital transformation.
Towards the end of the conversation, the CIO selected several of the top technology trends he foresees having the greatest impact on the industry in the coming few years highlighting payments, AI, connectivity, mobile, and more as areas to watch in the near future.
Could you pick out the three most important investments to prioritise this year?
How are you redesigning your tech infrastructure to support Turkish Airlines’ digital transformation?
Can you outline some of the most exciting use cases of generative AI like ChatGPT across the industry?
How are Turkish Airlines transforming their retail offering?
Can you identify the top technology trends that you think will make the biggest impact on the industry within the next three years?
Interview with Ho Hoong Mau, Regional Director, APAC Sales, Plusgrade, and Paul Carroll, Group Chief Revenue and Network Officer, AirAsia
At Aviation Festival Asia in Singapore, AirAsia and Plusgrade announced their expansive multi-year and multi-product partnership. This will give AirAsia customers the opportunity to bid for upgrades and reserve extra seating space for travellers.
The collaboration between the ancillary revenue solutions provider and Asia’s leading low-cost carrier develops the airline’s ancillary revenue and expands Plusgrade’s presence in the APAC region.
To learn more about the partnership and its wider significance, watch this short five-minute interview.
How will this partnership between Plusgrade and AirAsia enhance the overall customer experience of airline travelers? Is this going to be available for all the AirAsia brands including Thai AirAsia X, AirAsia Indonesia, AirAsia Philippines etc?
Can you expand on this interesting opportunity that customers are enabled with to bid for more premium service offerings on flights?
How will this complement AirAsia’s overall ancillary revenue strategy? Flatbeds and hotbeds for bidding are obviously great offerings; will there be other collaborations with Plusgrade in the future (like speedpass etc)?
How do you think this partnership aligns with Plusgrade’s strategic direction? And will this partnership lead to future ventures with AirAsia?
As a leader in the ancillary revenue and commercial travel industry, how do you think this partnership and venture will shape the outlook of the industry in the near and medium term?
Interview with Sumesh Patel, APAC President, SITA – Megatrends, collaboration, and Gen Z
Sumesh Patel is responsible for developing and driving the strategic direction of SITA in the Asia Pacific region.
In this five-minute interview, Sumesh highlights the ways the pandemic has transformed the industry for the better, how passenger needs are changing, and the evolving relationship between key industry stakeholders. SITA’s APAC President also discusses megatrends for the the next 2-3 years, picking out a few key shifts to be mindful of as the industry advances.
What has been the most exciting development in the industry’s digital transformation journey so far?
How do you think the pandemic changed the relationship between various industry stakeholders?
As the APAC region resumes international travel, what is one key lesson learned from the last few years that we must take forward?
What are the megatrends that you expect to impact the industry in the next 2-3 years?
Interview with Mandy Ng, CEO of HK Express – The benefits of digitisation
In this five-minute interview, Mandy Ng, CEO of HK Express pointed towards digitisation as a priority for the airline. Throughout the conversation, Mandy outlined the ways a strong digital approach underpins success across a multitude of areas for HK Express. This includes keeping customers engaged by responding to post-pandemic expectations, improving efficiency across the board, unlocking the agility required from LCCs, and more.
The HK Express CEO also elaborates on how ramping up digital strategy has helped while the region re-emerges from the pandemic and discusses the improvements in conversion rates as a consequence of upgrading the airline’s mobile app.
How is the current macro economic climate impacting bookings and yields?
What are the challenges of scaling back up as the industry re-emerges in this region?
How much of a priority is your digital strategy and what impact does that have on the passenger experience?
What to expect at Aviation Festival Asia with Mike Arnot
As highlighted by Mike Arnot in this discussion, many players in the APAC region are at the cutting edge of digital marketing and communication with their customers. Considering this, insight from these industry leaders could enrich practices across the globe. Mike Arnot, Principal at Juliett Alpha is involved in several of the marketing strategies & branding sessions taking place at Aviation Festival Asia at the end of the month.
The Juliett Alpha Principal is:
Moderating a CMO panel reconsidering marketing priorities as airlines rescale and emerge as internationally relevant brands. The session includes the CMOs of Saudia, Korean Air, and Virgin Australia as well as the APAC Managing Director for EveryMundo.
Interviewing Amad Luqman Mohd Azmi, Chief Executive Officer Airline Business, Malaysia Airlines about Malaysia Airlines’ outlook on digital marketing for 2023 and beyond.
Moderating a panel on devising digital marketing tactics to create iconic branding which will speak to 2023’s target online audiences. This panel includes the Director of Customer & Brand, HK Express, Chief Executive Officer Airline Business, Malaysia Airlines, Head of Marketing and Communications, Beond, and Digital Manager – Omnichannel Orchestration, Cathay Pacific Airways.
In this short interview, Mike explains his approach to these, detailing what delegates can expect to gain from attending and explaining how he intends to move beyond “Marketing 101” in the sessions.
To see Mike’s sessions and other unmissable talks, interviews, and panels get your ticket here.
Technology, retail, and distribution. An interview with Richard Engelmann, Regional Vice President, Asia, Oceania, and India at Japan Airlines
Before Aviation Festival Asia, Richard Engelmann, Regional Vice President, Asia, Oceania, and India at Japan Airlines joined for a conversation around retail, distribution, and the impact of new technology on the industry.
Throughout the interview, Richard shared his personal views on the evolution of airline retail and distribution, drawing on a rich and varied career within the industry. Towards the end, the Regional Vice President also answered some more specific questions on Japan Airlines’ approach to sustainability and growth amongst international travellers.
Commencing with a broad discussion around non-aviation specific technological advancements, Richard discussed the potential these hold for the aviation industry. Ranging from ChatGPT to digital identities, advancements in other sectors are a useful reference point for the aviation industry.
As the conversation moved towards tech developments within airline retail and distribution, Richard raised some nuanced observations concerning culture. Here, drawing on personal experience, the impact of cultural differences on rates of tech adoption and customer expectations were highlighted, providing a subtle balance to the discussion.
In the course of the interview, an array of topics were covering including predictions for the future of distribution, post-pandemic expectations, and customer experience. The entirety of the interview lasts 45-minutes. However, the below index can help to navigate to specific areas of the conversation.
Richard Engelmann’s introduction and background [0.38]
Discussion around ChatGPT and its potential uses in the aviation industry [3:25]
Question: Are there any specific developments in tech and innovation that you are excited to see in airline retailing and distribution? [6:30]
Exploring the cultural nuances of travel [10:45]
Question: Can you highlight some of the ways that technological innovation is already improving experiences for customers in the retail space? [13:30]
Discussion surrounding the adoption of technology and how it is received [16:10]
Question: Is there a pattern to how we have seen distribution evolve over the last five years? [19:25]
Question: How do you expect to se distribution advance in the future? [21:50]
Question: How have you seen customer demands and expectations shift since the pandemic? [27:45]
Question: Does technology play a role in meeting post-pandemic expectations? [31:50]
Question: Could you give me an overview of how you make Japan Airlines attractive to international travellers? [33:20]
Question: Would you be able to talk a bit about sustainability and Japan Airlines? [36:35]
Japan Airlines’ sustainable charter flight [40:05]
Question: Why are you joining us at Aviation Festival Asia? [42:10]
Richard Engelmann will be joining us on the retail track at Aviation Festival Asia on 28 February to talk about these topics and more. The interview will cover, ‘Exploring the evolution of digitalised airline distribution’ and Richard will also sit on a panel discussing ‘Developing strategies which optimise the use of existing technologies within distribution systems.’ To hear these session and a diverse range of opinions from other key industry players, book your ticket here.
What to expect at Aviation Festival Asia with Mabel Kwan
Aviation Festival Asia is fast approaching. The event gathers together airline, airport, and tech leaders for an honest discussion into lessons learned and plans for the future. With a packed agenda exploring sustainability, retail, payments, marketing, IT, tech, loyalty, AI and more, there is a rich array of topics, speakers, and sessions to navigate.
Mabel Kwan, MD Alton Aviation Consultancy will be moderating some of the airport tech sessions at the event. Watch the short interview below to hear more about what to expect from these sessions, what to look forward to at the event, and why Aviation Festival Asia 2023 is not one to miss.
Mabel has years of experience in planning, investment and business development in the airline, airport, and tourism and travel industries. Formerly a Managing Director of Investments at Changi Airports International (CAI), Mabel’s experience in the industry equips her well to moderate airport tech panels at the event. The Alton Aviation Consultancy MD will be moderating the following sessions:
A panel exploring how biometric technology within airports can uplift the entire aviation ecosystem. The panel includes CIO of Malaysia Airports, CDO & CCO IGA of Istanbul Airport, VP Customer Experience at Star Alliance, and VP Business Management, APAC at SITA.
A panel looking at the role of digital transformation in ramping up airport operations in Asia’s post-pandemic recovery era. This panel includes the Director of Procurement and Logistics at IGA Istanbul Airport, the Head of Operations at Noida International Airport, the Head of Terminal Operations at GMR Megawide Cebu Airport, the Lead Systems Engineer at SriLankan Airlines, and the Regional head of Operations at Collins Aerospace.