Interview with Chai Eamsiri, CEO THAI Airways – Embracing digital

Interview with Chai Eamsiri, CEO THAI Airways – Embracing digital

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.



Questions asked:

  1. How are digital investments helping to grow your airline’s revenue?
  2. What changes have you made to enhance the sales experience for your customers?
  3. How will the return of China’s tourist market impact your strategy?


Article by Jess Brownlow


Interview with Aldric Chau, General Manager Digital, Cathay Pacific Airways Limited – Generative AI, data science, and tech trends

Interview with Aldric Chau, General Manager Digital, Cathay Pacific Airways Limited – Generative AI, data science, and tech trends

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.



Questions asked:

  1. In what ways has data science influenced the industry, and how is Cathay Pacific leveraging this?
  2. Can you explain what drives Cathay Pacific’s digital transformation?
  3. Would you be able to outline some of the digital product innovations with the most power to transform the industry?
  4. Could you name two or three tech trends that you think will have the biggest impact on the industry in the coming year?


Article by Jess Brownlow


Interview with Andreas Slettvoll, CEO CHOOOSE – Sustainability and regional trends

Interview with Andreas Slettvoll, CEO CHOOOSE – Sustainability and regional trends

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.



Questions asked:

  1. Could you tell us a bit about your partnership with JetBlue and what is happening here?
  2. Could you explain your partnership with SAP and how the client app will help corporate travellers reduce their emissions?
  3. What trends are you seeing in the APAC region with regards to discussions around sustainability?
  4. Could you explain a bit about carbon capture’s relationship to SAF?


For more on CHOOOSE read British Airways partner with CHOOOSE to help passengers offset their emissions


Article by Jess Brownlow


Korean Air harnesses Korean culture on a global scale with YG Entertainment agreement

Korean Air harnesses Korean culture on a global scale with YG Entertainment agreement

Korean Air harnesses Korean culture on a global scale with YG Entertainment agreement


Last week, Korean Air and YG Entertainment (YG) announced they signed an agreement to promote Korean culture globally.

The press release described the agreement as “a stepstone in further promoting K-culture and its brand value by leveraging Korean Air’s extensive global network and YG’s role as a pioneer in K-pop culture.”

YG Entertainment is a South Korean multinational entertainment agency operating as a record label, talent agency, music production company, event management and concert production company, and music publishing house.

The airline already embraces and promotes Korean culture onboard with traditional meal options and an expanding in-flight entertainment array which will now include more Korean dramas, entertainment shows, and K-pop.

This in itself is not necessarily a new approach. For years airlines have been translating their local culture into the passenger experience. For example, Eithad Airways designed amenity kits based on designs use on traditional blankets, cushions, and Bedouin tents in the United Arab Emirates. Additionally, Malaysia Airlines crafted their inflight experience blending traditional musical instruments to “offer a taste of Malaysia.” Yin May Lau, Group Chief Marketing and Customer Experience Officer, Malaysia Airlines expands on the influence of Malaysian culture on the airline in this exclusive interview. 

However, Korean Air’s collaboration with YG takes this to the next level.

Explaining their collaboration, Kenneth Chang, Korean Air’s CMO said:

“Although the aviation and entertainment sectors have different characteristics, we expect Korean Air’s solid global network and YG’s insight in K-pop content to be leveraged to create synergy.” 

Detailed in the announcement was Korean Air’s first step of becoming the official airline sponsor of YG artist Blackpink’s world tour, providing discounted plane tickets and waiving additional baggage fees for artists and staff part of the tour for limited time. YG will in turn provide concert tickets, signed CDs and posters for Korean Air’s SKYPASS members and Korean Air passengers will enjoy a special welcome message by Blackpink on board.

The symbiotic collaboration between the airline and YG to promote Korean culture should help Korean Air to expand their recognition on the global stage, and enhance the airline’s brand.


Article by Jess Brownlow


Interview with Dr. Kerem Kızıltunç, CIO Turkish Airlines – Technology and the aviation industry

Interview with Dr. Kerem Kızıltunç, CIO Turkish Airlines – Technology and the aviation industry

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.



Questions asked:

  1. Could you pick out the three most important investments to prioritise this year?
  2. How are you redesigning your tech infrastructure to support Turkish Airlines’ digital transformation?
  3. Can you outline some of the most exciting use cases of generative AI like ChatGPT across the industry?
  4. How are Turkish Airlines transforming their retail offering?
  5. Can you identify the top technology trends that you think will make the biggest impact on the industry within the next three years?

For more on Turkish Airlines see Turkish Airlines: profitability, growth, and sustainability


Article by Jess Brownlow


Interview with Ho Hoong Mau, Regional Director, APAC Sales, Plusgrade, and Paul Carroll, Group Chief Revenue and Network Officer, AirAsia

Interview with Ho Hoong Mau, Regional Director, APAC Sales, Plusgrade, and Paul Carroll, Group Chief Revenue and Network Officer, AirAsia

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.



Questions asked:

  1. 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?
  2. Can you expand on this interesting opportunity that customers are enabled with to bid for more premium service offerings on flights?
  3. 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)?
  4. How do you think this partnership aligns with Plusgrade’s strategic direction? And will this partnership lead to future ventures with AirAsia?
  5. 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?


Article by Jess Brownlow


Interview with Sumesh Patel, APAC President, SITA – Megatrends, collaboration, and Gen Z

Interview with Sumesh Patel, APAC President, SITA – Megatrends, collaboration, and Gen Z

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.



Questions asked:

  1. What has been the most exciting development in the industry’s digital transformation journey so far?
  2. How do you think the pandemic changed the relationship between various industry stakeholders?
  3. As the APAC region resumes international travel, what is one key lesson learned from the last few years that we must take forward?
  4. What are the megatrends that you expect to impact the industry in the next 2-3 years?


Article by Jess Brownlow


Interview with Mandy Ng, CEO of HK Express – The benefits of digitisation

Interview with Mandy Ng, CEO of HK Express – The benefits of digitisation

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.



Questions asked:

  1. How is the current macro economic climate impacting bookings and yields?
  2. What are the challenges of scaling back up as the industry re-emerges in this region?
  3. How much of a priority is your digital strategy and what impact does that have on the passenger experience?


Article by Jess Brownlow


The challenges generative AI poses for the industry

The challenges generative AI poses for the industry

The challenges generative AI poses for the industry


Generative AI, “artificial intelligence that can generate novel content, rather than simply analysing or acting on existing data” has caught the world’s attention in recent months. Open AI‘s state-of-the-art language processing AI model, ChatGPT, sparked widespread discussion of the technology’s potential, but what are the challenges that come with generative AI? Below is a conversation with ChatGPT, exploring the difficulties that the technology poses with regards to the aviation industry.


Q: How will generative AI impact the aviation industry?

A: Generative AI, which is a subset of artificial intelligence that involves using algorithms to generate new data, has the potential to impact the aviation industry in several ways. Here are a few examples:

  1. Improved aircraft design: Generative AI can be used to generate and evaluate new aircraft designs. By analyzing data on aerodynamics, fuel efficiency, and other factors, generative AI can help engineers design aircraft that are more efficient, safer, and easier to maintain.
  2. Predictive maintenance: Airlines can use generative AI to analyze data from sensors on aircraft to predict when components will fail. This can help airlines avoid costly unscheduled maintenance and reduce downtime for aircraft.
  3. Air traffic control: Generative AI can be used to analyze and optimize air traffic control systems, helping to reduce congestion and improve safety.
  4. Pilot training: Generative AI can be used to simulate a wide range of flight conditions, allowing pilots to train in a safe and controlled environment. This can help to improve pilot skills and reduce the risk of accidents.

Overall, generative AI has the potential to significantly improve the efficiency, safety, and profitability of the aviation industry. However, it is important to carefully consider the potential risks and ethical implications of using these technologies, particularly when it comes to issues such as privacy, data security, and job displacement.


Q: What would you say the challenges are of integrating generative AI to the aviation industry?

A: While there are many potential benefits of integrating generative AI into the aviation industry, there are also several challenges that need to be considered. Here are a few examples:

  1. Data quality: Generative AI relies on large amounts of high-quality data to generate accurate results. In the aviation industry, obtaining this data can be challenging due to factors such as data privacy concerns and the complexity of aircraft systems.
  2. Safety and regulation: Safety is a critical concern in the aviation industry, and any new technology must be thoroughly tested and validated before it can be integrated into operational systems. In addition, regulatory agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) must approve any new technology before it can be used in commercial aviation.
  3. Integration with existing systems: Generative AI systems must be integrated with existing aviation systems, such as air traffic control and aircraft maintenance systems. This can be challenging due to the complexity of these systems and the need to ensure that the new technology does not disrupt existing operations.
  4. Ethical concerns: The use of generative AI raises ethical concerns related to issues such as data privacy, bias, and job displacement. For example, the use of AI in pilot training could potentially reduce the need for human pilots, leading to job losses in the industry.


Q: Could you please elaborate on the challenges of integrating generative AI with existing systems?

A: Integrating generative AI with existing aviation systems can be a complex and challenging task. Here are some specific challenges that need to be addressed:

  1. Compatibility: Generative AI systems must be compatible with existing aviation systems, such as air traffic control and aircraft maintenance systems. This requires ensuring that the data formats, communication protocols, and interfaces used by the new system are compatible with the existing systems.
  2. Complexity: Aviation systems are highly complex and often involve multiple interconnected systems that must work together seamlessly. Any new technology must be able to integrate with these systems without disrupting existing operations or compromising safety.
  3. Security: Aviation systems are also highly sensitive and require robust security measures to protect against cyber threats. Any new technology must be designed with security in mind and must be able to integrate with existing security measures to ensure that sensitive data is protected.
  4. Reliability: The aviation industry has very high standards for reliability, and any new technology must meet these standards. Generative AI systems must be thoroughly tested and validated to ensure that they can operate reliably in a real-world aviation environment.
  5. Training: Integrating generative AI with existing aviation systems also requires training personnel to use the new technology effectively. This requires developing training programs and materials that can effectively teach personnel how to use the new technology.

Overall, integrating generative AI with existing aviation systems is a complex task that requires careful consideration of a range of factors. This requires collaboration between stakeholders in the aviation industry, including regulators, airlines, and technology providers, to ensure that the technology is developed and implemented in a safe, responsible, and effective manner.


Q: Can you give more detail on the ethical concerns of generative AI?

A: Generative AI raises several ethical concerns that must be carefully considered before integrating the technology into the aviation industry. Here are some specific ethical concerns:

  1. Data privacy: Generative AI relies on large amounts of data to generate accurate results, and this data may include sensitive information such as personal information about passengers or flight crew. There is a risk that this data could be misused or mishandled, potentially leading to privacy violations.
  2. Bias: Generative AI systems may be biased if they are trained on data that is not representative of the entire population. This could lead to unfair or discriminatory outcomes, particularly when it comes to issues such as hiring or resource allocation.
  3. Job displacement: The use of generative AI in the aviation industry could potentially lead to job displacement, particularly in areas such as pilot training or aircraft maintenance. This could have a significant impact on workers and communities, particularly if there are no alternative job opportunities available.
  4. Accountability: Generative AI systems are often opaque and difficult to understand, making it challenging to assign responsibility when something goes wrong. This raises questions about accountability and the ability to hold individuals or organizations responsible for the outcomes of AI-generated decisions.
  5. Safety: The use of generative AI in safety-critical systems, such as aircraft design or air traffic control, raises concerns about the safety of these systems. There is a risk that errors or biases in the AI system could lead to accidents or other safety incidents.

Overall, the ethical concerns of generative AI must be carefully considered and addressed before integrating the technology into the aviation industry. This requires collaboration between stakeholders in the aviation industry, including regulators, airlines, and technology providers, to ensure that the technology is developed and implemented in a safe, responsible, and ethical manner.


Q: Overall, do you think generative AI’s contribution to the aviation industry would outweigh the challenges?

A: Generative AI has the potential to bring significant benefits to the aviation industry, such as improved safety, increased efficiency, and cost savings. However, integrating generative AI into the aviation industry also poses several challenges, such as data quality, safety and regulation, integration with existing systems, and ethical concerns.

Ultimately, the success of generative AI in the aviation industry will depend on how effectively these challenges are addressed. While some challenges may be difficult to overcome, with careful planning, collaboration, and investment, many of these challenges can be mitigated or overcome.

Therefore, whether generative AI’s contribution to the aviation industry outweighs the challenges will depend on the specific applications and contexts in which the technology is used, as well as the effectiveness of the measures taken to address the challenges. If the benefits of using generative AI in aviation are significant enough and the technology is implemented in a safe, responsible, and ethical manner, then the contribution of generative AI to the aviation industry could outweigh the challenges.


For more content like this see: I asked ChatGPT what it means for the future of the aviation industry


Article by Jess Brownlow


The super-app experience of Southeast Asia

The super-app experience of Southeast Asia

The super-app experience of Southeast Asia


The Travel in Motion and Oystin teams attended Aviation Festival Asia this week. We had the opportunity to catch up with industry colleagues in warmer climates, and the opportunity to taste some fantastic local dishes too! Though there was one experience that we rarely get to trial at home in Europe: the super app.

Super apps are prominent here in Southeast Asia and China. They offer a wide range of financial instruments and online-to-offline services such as food delivery, package delivery and transportation. These super apps position themselves in their user’s daily life and create a marketplace around just about anything. The apps are typically connecting buyers with suppliers that, until now, may not have had a digital presence, for example taxi drivers, takeaway houses, and laundrettes.

The super apps have the similar measures for success: user acquisition and retention. It’s all about user activity (and accompanying revenue, of course). They prioritise having access to the right content overlaid with making a customer’s shopping, booking and fulfilment experience excellent. In doing so they increase their share of sales with the supplier, putting them in a superior distribution position. For some services they even set the price, for example with ride hailing.

Customers who find something easy to use return time and time again, often no longer giving the competitors a second look. The super apps are a snowball, the value users place in their brands are increasing and the more daily users they acquire, the easier it is to launch a successful new service.

Airlines too have capitalised on their well-known brand to become part of a user’s daily life, albeit in a different way – the loyalty programme partnership. Your wallet may contain a credit card with an airline logo, your supermarket may advertise the opportunity to earn points and whilst you top up fuel for your car, you may also be topping up your air miles account too.

Whilst airlines are striving to become better retailers, a super app is an extreme form and its value versus cost is unproven. Here are some questions to consider before going down this path:

  • “Is it a feasible proposition for an airline to execute on? Would it lead to positive daily experiences with its brand or lead to negative brand impact?”,
  • “Why would consumers choose an airline over Grab, Uber, WeChat etc…?”,
  • “Should an airline offer these additional services and become a more integral part of users’ daily lives?”,
  • “Does the current loyalty play, where airlines partner with everyday brands, already go far enough to build brand loyalty and affinity to the airline?”, and
  • “Would it lead to consumers valuing the airline brand so much that they don’t shop for flights elsewhere?”

Super apps are built on a deep motivation for excellent user experience, consistency, and commercial policies which promote an ease of doing business. To meet these expectations, super apps have modern, fast, and scalable systems.

One question that arises is whether super apps pose a risk to an airline’s distribution and commercial strategies, could a super app change the airline market in the same way it did for ride hailing. Very few super apps offer public transportation services today. Air Asia’s super app does sell flights and hotels. However, it is powered by an online travel agency (OTA) so the experience is limited to what the OTA can provide, which in turn is often limited by the functionality of the airline. Uber has recently launched trains and coaches on its app and has shown an intent to sell flights too. However, they obtain their content, they are likely to face the same issues as Air Asia, the experience they can provide is limited to what the airline’s capabilities are.

So, should an airline enter this space too? Are they at risk of missing out? Airlines have a lot of competing priorities to contend with, such as their own financial stability as they recover from the COVID-era. Purists may argue that airlines should focus on efficient, safe, and enjoyable transportation. Others within the airlines are focused on a diversification of income streams by leveraging the airline brand. An example of where this has been successful is the airline loyalty business units. They were able to raise funds during COVID, which for some airlines provided a significant lifeline.

Travel in Motion’s (TiM) opinion is that running a consistent experience across multiple services is not for the faint-hearted. This takes considerable focus to get it right, and that will lead to less attention on the airline’s core business. However, we do believe airlines still can learn a lot from the super app experience to guide their own digital offering. Offering relevant and personalised offers, easy-to-use booking systems and a well-designed digital experience to accompany the physical travel journey is extremely valuable to a growing segment of customers.

Airlines have already started down this path by pursuing modern offer and order management systems, a key enabler to meeting the modern customer’s expectation. Those systems could help airlines become a super app. However, we at TiM believe there are many areas airlines will choose to improve once they have a modern technology stack. In doing so they will strive to improve customer satisfaction, revenue, and de- risk being commoditised.

In the meantime, whether you are attended Aviation Festival Asia or not, consider downloading a super app and experience what your customers are experiencing on a daily basis.


Article by Jason Balluck, Travel in Motion GmbH


AirAsia and Plusgrade Announce Partnership to Enable Bid for Upgrades and Extra Seating Space for Travelers

AirAsia and Plusgrade Announce Partnership to Enable Bid for Upgrades and Extra Seating Space for Travelers

AirAsia and Plusgrade Announce Partnership to Enable Bid for Upgrades and Extra Seating Space for Travelers


PRESS RELEASE: Montreal – Tuesday, February 28th, 2023


  • Expansive multi-year and multi-product Plusgrade and AirAsia partnership announced at Aviation Festival Asia in Singapore
  • AirAsia guests will soon have the opportunity to bid for upgrades and reserve empty seats beside them on flights
  • This is a significant partnership for Plusgrade as they continue to expand their footprint in the APAC region

Plusgrade, the leading provider of ancillary revenue solutions for the global travel industry, is proud to announce its partnership with AirAsia, Asia’s leading low-cost carrier. This extensive partnership will soon allow AirAsia customers to bid for upgrades and reserve the seat(s) beside them for extra space and comfort. The deal was unveiled today in Singapore at Aviation Festival Asia, the largest aviation tech event in Asia.


With the relaxation of the remaining travel restrictions in the Asia-Pacific region in early 2023, travel industry recovery is well underway. Ancillary services that delight customers and drive revenue will be an essential tool for airline, hotel and rail companies as travel returns to – or even exceeds – pre-pandemic levels. Today’s travellers are looking for streamlined travel experiences with a focus on comfort and innovative services to improve their journeys.


For consumers, ancillary services such as upgrades or the ability to reserve open seats beside them on their flight can make travel more enjoyable, giving them room to stretch out and relax, or enabling them to experience premium products and services that might otherwise be out of reach.


“We are thrilled to join forces with AirAsia to support them in driving meaningful ancillary revenue through incredible traveler experiences,” said Plusgrade CEO, Ken Harris. “We look forward to supporting AirAsia as they continue to innovate and develop new products and services for their customers, and to expanding our footprint in the thriving APAC region.”


Ms Karen Chan, Group Chief Commercial Officer at AirAsia added: “This collaboration will enable us to offer more passengers the chance to access our premium products and services, such as our award winning premium flatbeds or hot seats with extra legroom. We are confident that our guests will love this innovative and seamless way to enhance their travel experience.”



About AirAsia

AirAsia is the World’s Best Low Cost Airline, flying to more than 130 destinations in the region and beyond. Founded in 2001, the airline has flown close to a billion passengers. With the resume of travel worldwide, AirAsia has gradually reinstated flights for many of its popular routes whilst launching new ones. AirAsia’s vision and mission have always been to serve the underserved. Throughout its two decades of service, the airline has connected people and places, and has largely been credited for democratising affordable air travel in the region with its now famous tagline ‘Now Everyone Can Fly’’.



About Plusgrade

Plusgrade powers the global travel industry with its portfolio of leading ancillary revenue solutions. Over 200 airline, hospitality, cruise, passenger rail, and financial services companies trust Plusgrade to create new, meaningful revenue streams through incredible customer experiences. As an ancillary revenue powerhouse, Plusgrade has generated billions of dollars in new revenue opportunities across its platform for its partners, while creating enhanced travel experiences for millions of their passengers and guests. Plusgrade was founded in 2009 with headquarters in Montreal and has offices around the world.


The future era of technology-driven smart airports

The future era of technology-driven smart airports

The future era of technology-driven smart airports


To keep pace with the ever-increasing needs and demands, airports worldwide are constantly evolving. With air travel on the rise again, airports are not just expected to facilitate passengers and cargo movement; they also need to expand their horizons to cover other crucial aspects, like:

  • Execution of seamless operations with low to minimal manual intervention,
  • Augmenting safety and health protocols,
  • Optimizing the use of facilities, preventing wastage, and becoming sustainable,
  • Scaling up scrutiny and security, and,
  • Boosting passenger experience.

At the same time, with the high scarcity of human resources in most of Europe and North America, the need to establish measures to utilize resources efficiently has never been as critical.

The challenges are not new; airports have been addressing them over the years by embracing technology at different stages of their growth. However, each of these challenges has evolved and needs airports to adopt state-of-the-art technologies to keep up with the changed dynamics. This evolving era of airport digitalization and digital disruption, which saw its inception decades back, constitutes what we call ”smart airports”.


Within the smart airport ecosystem

Smart airports stimulate the need for an integrated and comprehensive ecosystem that demands the airports to be not only fully functional but also intuitive, efficient, and predictive. This also requires that the manual airport processes, which are often slow and error-prone, be reduced and digitally governed to bring automation, efficiency, and accuracy to day-to-day functioning.

Smart airports are functional, intuitive, efficient, predictive, and digitally governed.

Therefore, it becomes imperative that digital technologies and solutions like cloud networks, biometrics, mobility solutions, data science and related fields, immersive technologies and IoT, and other sensors-based solutions, be leveraged increasingly to encompass the diverse areas of airport operations and processes.

Although the smart airport concept is blooming in several spheres, the following are the three regions where we think airports can drive maximum gains:


1. Achieving airport operational efficiency through data and digital engineering

Airports are structurally complex, and a single channel does not drive their smooth functioning. A deeper understanding of the intricate association and dependency of various airport departments has brought awareness that siloed operations cannot be the solution to achieving operational efficiency and resilience. Airport stakeholders need to be transparent and readily available with real-time data they can exchange to deliver consistent and exceptional performance.

With the right technology and data solutions, airport stakeholders can achieve efficiency and productivity.

To achieve this, more and more airports should start adopting networking and collaborative frameworks like AOP (Airport Operational Plan) and ACDM (Airline Airport Collaborative Decision Making). These frameworks encourage initiatives to promote data sharing and transparency within and between airports.

Data science and AI must be leveraged to derive meaningful insights from past and present data. Building such data-rich integration platforms can help airports extract immediate and real-time information from various interconnected departments. This will help smoothen communication and increase responsiveness in multiple ways. For instance:

  • Swift and efficient allocation of gates and counters to airlines
  • Smooth passenger flow management with better predictability
  • Better resource management
  • Improved runway slot adherence

Further, airports can also employ sensor-based solutions in various areas to improve efficiency. For example, using RFID-based solutions that can read data instantly from numerous items like luggage and cargo and can aid in bulk item transportation with proper tracking and tracing. Also, it simplifies the manual and time-consuming inspection of assets by instantly reading information like expiry date, next due scan date, etc., from the asset and sending it back to the data source.

Similarly, technology in the form of mobile solutions can also stand out in comparison to the usual paper-based checks. Their highly interactive and data-rich interfaces allow airport staff to send immediate updates, retrieve data, and take corrective actions.


2. Upscaling the passenger experience

Since passengers spend more than 60% of their total travel time at the airport premises, their comfort and convenience put a lot of onus on the airport’s authority. Even with many initiatives to smoothen the process, passengers invariably express their distress towards adhering to the airport’s elaborate checks and protocols. The actual journey that begins from flight take-off for passengers exhausts them beforehand due to the:

  • Need to reach airports hours before flights take off,
  • Long and unpredictable waiting times in several queues,
  • The exhaustive process of baggage tracking and collection,
  • Extensive scans and scrutiny, and,
  • Being unheard and feeling lost in the complex airport maze.

Understanding passengers’ needs, their interaction with various touch points across the whole journey, predicting their next move, recommending them with the right offer, and intuitively guiding them in the right way are some areas where airports can effectively act. Again, customer data plays an important role here. Keeping track of customer preferences, concerns, and historical transactions can help airports in improving those relationships and bring in a personal touch.

The long-term vision of airports for a passenger aims to shift the notion of “being stuck inside the airport” to “experiencing a world of leisure and excitement.”

With features like smart parking, virtual queues, digital identities, baggage notifications, personalized merchandizing and recommendations, smart menus and smart washrooms, virtual assistance, and an immersive feel, more and more airports can work to provide a different experience beyond the usual to the passengers.


3. Bringing in greener initiatives

Now that the aviation industry’s contribution towards global greenhouse emissions is well established (around 3% of the total emissions), airports need to pace up to achieve their target of becoming carbon neutral by 2050 or before. The path to net zero is long and challenging, and although there are measures being taken, much is yet to be done in this zone.

By embracing smart operations using data and analytics, airports can reduce their carbon emissions.

Some ways to become a green airport would involve the following:

  •  Tracking & MitigationThe first step requires thorough analysis and regular tracking of direct and indirect sources that contribute to emissions. After that, airports need to define immediate short-term and long-term sustainability targets. To achieve this, airports must start by leveraging sustainability tracking solutions and showing progress towards net zero objectives. For example, using cloud-based sustainability platforms that offer detailed dashboards and provide periodic details on fuel consumption, offset achieved, emissions via waste, business travel, etc., and other sources and provide a clear progress report using science-based targets.
  •  Moderating the consumptionAlthough some airports are also considering shifting towards renewable energy sources by setting up solar panels and using CNG, reducing incidents from day-to-day airport operations (wherein the consumption of resources like fuel, water, and electricity goes much beyond the need) should also be tracked. Keeping a continuous and consistent check on these expenditures would certainly go a long way in keeping up with the net zero goals.


Technologies like sensor-based IoT devices could also be harnessed to regulate the usage of electricity, water, and air conditioning as per need by sensing a human presence. Similarly, computer vision-based ML solutions could be used to build smart dustbins that identify types of waste and help in proper disposal. Leveraging AI and analytics could aid airports in measuring the food, paper, and other waste passengers generate. This can help drive eco-conscious passenger initiatives.



In the stride to become exceptionally performant, there is a continuous need for airports to explore further upcoming avenues and adapt. Also, emerging technologies and innovations play a huge role in curating specific solutions, and the coming times will see them being leveraged even more. It would be apt to say that with all these digital disruptions, the long-term vision of airports will be to bring efficiency, comfort, and luxury inside the terminals.


Article by Nagarro 


Changi Airport looks to bridge manpower gap with autonomous vehicles

Changi Airport looks to bridge manpower gap with autonomous vehicles

Changi Airport looks to bridge manpower gap with autonomous vehicles


During the pandemic, the aviation industry lost 2.3 million jobs globally. As the world returns to travel there have been staff shortages worldwide, impacting the service that the sector can offer.

In a recent press release, Changi Airport discussed their experience of manpower shortages which were particularly notable for roles in the airside which the airport believed “if left unaddressed [would] pose a huge constraint for the future of Terminal 5’s operations.”

Ultimately, the airport group envisions a future where:

“A combination of multi-skilled airside workers will be augmented by different types of autonomous vehicles to deliver seamless operations.”

Building towards this goal, Changi Airport Group signed a formal partnership agreement with Aurrigo International plc, a leading provider of airport transport technology, for the continued joint development and testing of the company’s autonomous vehicles.

Identifying the driving of baggage tractors as requiring the highest number of drivers in airside operations, the airport has been exploring the automation of these processes since February 2022.

The multi year partnership builds on existing trials of an autonomous individual baggage trailer, Auto-Dolly, as well as the Auto-Dolly Tug, capable of towing three additional trailers, driving the next phase of development.

As technology progresses, it can automate more processes, bridging the gaps that staff shortages present, and facilitating the redistribution of the work force to optimise overall operations.


On Tuesday, a panel of industry experts will discuss the role of digital transformation in ramping up airport operations in Asia’s post-pandemic recovery era. Get your ticket here.


Article by Jess Brownlow


Letsfly Co-founder – 3 Key Elements For Airlines & Retailers To Improve Distribution Strategies

Letsfly Co-founder – 3 Key Elements For Airlines & Retailers To Improve Distribution Strategies

Letsfly Co-founder – 3 Key Elements For Airlines & Retailers To Improve Distribution Strategies


The travel & airline industry always undergoes a rapidly changing commercial landscape. Understanding how to navigate it is a key component of success.

One of the biggest challenges airlines face is the shifting dynamics between carriers and their distribution partners.  Could this be a sign of fragmentation for airline distribution? If so, then could there be signs of reaggregation emerging on the horizon?


GDS to NDC and Direct API

GDS has historically dominated the distribution market, and airlines must seek flexible and cost-effective distribution solutions and other alternatives. As a result, Next Generation Distribution Solutions (NDC, Direct API) surged in popularity as they offered more agile adoption methods.

However, there are still critical aspects that require special attention, and airlines and retailers must first know how to analyze them, before defining their approach. And that begins by looking beyond the traditional solutions, and preparing for success by knowing how to effectively adopt a New Distribution Solution.


How to prepare for success with a New Distribution Solution

Kelvin Fu, Co-founder of Letsfly (a provider of high-quality content so airlines and travel organizations lower distribution costs and reach new markets), believes that the New Distribution Solution model presents both challenges and opportunities. Which is why he states that it’s important for airlines and retailers to first understand three key aspects to prioritize their efforts.


The 3 critical elements airlines and retailers must prioritize

  1. How to cover more markets at lower costs for airlines
  2. How to support the sales of diversified products more flexibly, such as ancillaries and bundles
  3. How to ensure a satisfactory ticket purchase and post-sales service experience for travelers under the New Distribution Solution

To achieve success, companies need to focus on important areas such as expanding market coverage while reducing costs, supporting the sales of diversified products like ancillaries and bundles, ensuring a seamless customer experience throughout the ticket purchasing process and post-sales services, and assessing technical performance and effectiveness.

According to Kelvin Fu, Co-founder, Letsfly:

“It’s crucial to have a distributor with extensive and quick market coverage, who can establish direct API connections, and handles the entire case, this especially means post-service. Only in this way will distribution strategies be optimized in the New Distribution Solution model”


How to solve the 3 critical key elements:

  1. Ensure your distributor has extensive and quick market coverage.
  2. Reduce third-party process, build direct API connection with distributors.
  3. Partner with a distributor that provides end-to-end solutions to your case.

By focusing on these key aspects and collaborating with distribution partners – airlines and retailers can be in a position to adapt in this rapidly changing landscape. Through this, they optimize their distribution strategies and provide a better overall experience for their customers.

“It is essential to pay attention to issues such as market coverage, product diversification, customer experience, and technical performance to succeed in a rapidly changing market. By doing so, airlines and retailers can benefit from greater efficiency, cost savings, and customer satisfaction.” Kelvin Fu, Co-founder, Letsfly.

New Distribution Solutions have been around for some time, but airlines always need to adapt to changing consumer preferences and seek to diversify their product offerings. As a result, more airlines have been adopting lightweight and flexible distribution methods, moving away from the traditional GDS model. While this trend was initially led by low-cost carriers looking to save costs, it has evolved into a more fragmented market.



Flexible, Adaptable, and Tailored Solutions

To tackle this issue, Letsfly offers tailored solutions that are more flexible and adaptable. The goal is to offer airlines and retailers a distribution solution that helps expand market coverage while keeping costs low, support the sales of diversified products, ensure satisfactory customer experiences, and improve technical performance.

“New innovations will continue to emerge and disrupt the industry, as more companies are open to adopt these solutions. Those who understand how to navigate this landscape successfully can expect to achieve greater efficiency, cost savings, and customer satisfaction.”   Kelvin Fu, Co-founder, Letsfly.


Collaboration and Customer-Centric Strategies

As with any industry, the travel, aviation and hospitality sector will always continue to evolve, and collaboration with distribution partners is key to success in this ever-changing industry. Airlines and retailers must be open to embrace new technologies and collaborate closely with their distribution partners to achieve success.



Many new companies are emerging to innovate and potentially replace the traditional GDS’s position, and become the new dominant solution. So it is important for airlines and retailers to work together with their distribution partners.

This will help to foster long-lasting relationships with customers in order to remain competitive in an industry that is constantly changing.

In the end, success in the travel industry is all about the customer. By investing in strategies that are customer-centric and tailored to their needs, airlines and retailers can build long-lasting relationships that will keep customers coming back for more.

It won’t be an easy road, but those willing to embrace change, experiment with new approaches, and collaborate with their distribution partners will be the ones that thrive in it.


Article by Letsfly

Letsfly is an innovative company focused on providing high-quality content to travel organizations while helping airlines lower their distribution costs, reach new markets and maximize profit. Its mission is to improve travel distribution with cutting-edge technology and provide long lasting value to its customers. The company was founded in 2014, with headquarters in Beijing (China) and offices in Hong Kong, Sydney, Singapore, and Dublin.


Seamless Air Alliance and GSMA collaborate to “bring mobile roaming to the skies” 

Seamless Air Alliance and GSMA collaborate to “bring mobile roaming to the skies” 

Seamless Air Alliance and GSMA collaborate to “bring mobile roaming to the skies”


This week, it was announced that the Seamless Air Alliance and the GSMA are collaborating to “accelerate the availability of seamless mobile roaming onboard commercial airlines.”

The cooperation between the pair represents a significant step in the journey towards a smooth connectivity experience for passengers, bridging the gap between data roaming in the air and on the ground.

The Seamless Air Alliance was founded by Airbus, Delta, OneWeb, Sprint, and Airtel and drives the development and implementation of Global Standards for Inflight Connectivity. Collaborating with the GSMA, a global organisation unifying the world’s mobile ecosystem, has potential to significantly accelerate the accessibility of seamless mobile roaming onboard commercial airlines.

In the press release, Jack Mandala, CEO of the Seamless Air Alliance said:

“Working with the GSMA positions us in front of over 750 mobile network operators and other service providers, paving the way to open dialogue and cooperation in bringing roaming services to airlines worldwide. The agreement with the GSMA is a ringing validation of our goal to bring seamless connectivity to airlines and their passengers.” 

Adding to this, Alex Sinclair, CTO of the GSMA said:

“We’ve come a long way since the first SMS was sent in 1992, but even now there is no guarantee that airline passengers can connect with their contacts on the ground during a flight. Our collaboration with the Seamless Air Alliance will facilitate and accelerate agreements between airlines and MNOs around their own route network to improve connectivity. We are excited to work with members of the Seamless Air Alliance to bring mobile roaming to the skies and deliver the best possible customer experience for airline passengers”

Working together, the pair are aiming to create a scalable framework for establishing commercial roaming agreements between respective members and bring roaming to the world’s airlines.


Article by Jess Brownlow


Takeoff with AI: Five Reasons the Airline Industry Should Embrace AI

Takeoff with AI: Five Reasons the Airline Industry Should Embrace AI

Takeoff with AI: Five Reasons the Airline Industry Should Embrace AI


Technology is revolutionizing the way that businesses interact with customers, streamlining operations and uncovering new opportunities for growth. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is playing an increasingly important role in the airline industry, allowing businesses to take advantage of a range of benefits that enable them to stay competitive and profitable. By leveraging the power of AI, businesses can gain a competitive edge in the airline industry and identify new opportunities for success.

The use of AI in the airline industry has seen an impressive increase in value, from $152.4 million in 2018 to an expected $2,222.5 million by 2025. This upward trend is likely to continue as the industry evolves and businesses seek to remain competitive and profitable.

Here are the top five reasons to use AI in the airline industry:


1. Optimized Operations

Airline companies can optimize network planning, adjust flight schedules, and manage aircraft capacity to maximize efficiency and reduce costs using AI. This can help airlines to better manage fuel consumption and emissions. AI can also be used to automate routine tasks and processes, allowing airlines to focus on more important tasks.


2. Improved Customer Service

AI can provide personalized service to customers, such as recommending travel itineraries and providing real-time information about flight status and delays. AI chatbots can also be used to answer customer queries and resolve issues quickly and efficiently. This can help improve the overall customer experience and increase customer satisfaction.


3. Revenue Optimization

Gathering detailed insights on customer demand is an essential prerequisite to optimize the revenues and margins of the overall network of any airline. As such, solutions that harness the power of AI are a clear competitive advantage for airlines – under the right conditions, they can bring highly accurate forecast capabilities that can be leveraged to make better informed decisions, and ultimately have direct impact on the bottom line both from a revenue and cost perspective.


4. Cost Savings

By leveraging AI-driven automation, airlines can reduce operational costs and increase operational efficiency, leading to a substantial increase in profitability and market competitiveness.

For instance, airlines can automate their inventory management, pricing, and revenue management processes to optimize their operations and reduce the risk of overbooking, which has a high cost per offloaded passenger, not to mention a very poor customer experience.  AI algorithms can analyze historical data and current market trends to make real-time pricing decisions, thus reducing manual labor and human errors. This can also lead to increased sales and revenue uplift.

In addition, AI-powered predictive maintenance can help airlines identify potential aircraft malfunctions before they occur, leading to fewer flight cancellations and maintenance costs. AI can also streamline operations, such as baggage handling and check-in, leading to a reduction in staff and labor costs.

By embracing AI, airlines can unlock significant cost savings and gain a competitive edge in the market, making it a worthwhile investment for any airline looking to stay ahead in the industry.


5. Increased Scalability

AI can help airlines scale up their operations quickly and efficiently. This technology can be used to automate customer service inquiries and other processes, streamlining workflow and allowing airlines to focus on more important tasks. Additionally, AI can be used to provide predictive analytics and insights that can help airlines identify potential opportunities and make decisions more quickly and accurately. With the help of AI, airlines can stay ahead of the competition and be up-to-date with the latest trends.


AI has the potential to revolutionize the airline industry. By automating routine tasks, making better decisions, improving customer experience, and optimizing maintenance, AI can help airline companies become more efficient, cost-effective, and competitive.


Article by Wiremind


Three start-ups to look out for at Aviation Festival Asia: Optimisation through advanced technology

Three start-ups to look out for at Aviation Festival Asia: Optimisation through advanced technology

Three start-ups to look out for at Aviation Festival Asia: Optimisation through advanced technology


Aviation Festival Asia gathers together industry giants, start-ups, and everyone in between to drive innovation in the aviation industry. The event is an opportunity for start-ups to get noticed and for influential industry players to forge business partnerships in the Asia Region.

Advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and software solutions play a significant role in optimising operations throughout the aviation industry. With these, costs can be reduced and outcomes maximised. Here are three start-ups, facilitating optimisation within the industry.



Optimal solutions for a world in motion. Motulus provides business software solutions that specialize in optimizing crew and aircraft. Such software is critical to run large-scale, daily operations in a cost-efficient and productive way maximizing crew satisfaction, reducing operational disruption and minimizing the environmental impact. The solution leads to significant cost savings, week after week. Motulus software streamlines and accelerates the workflow to design, plan and operate these logistic operations and provides in-depth analytical insights. was formed in 2018 by a group of mathematical experts who specialize in building solutions deploying the latest scientific and software developments.


2. Speedcargo

Speedcargo Technologies brings innovative solutions that use computer vision technologies, advanced algorithms and artificial intelligence to transform the air cargo operations of Airlines and Ground Handlers. The technology was developed from research undertaken at Technical University of Munich (TUM) – CREATE in response to an industry requirement initiated by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS). We developed, tested and deployed the technology in live operations and demonstrated the world’s first fully automated, robot-packed cargo pallet. In 2020, SPEEDCARGO Technologies Pte Ltd. incorporated as a Singapore-based deep-tech startup and launched products for digitization and optimization as crucial first steps towards automation.


3. Synaptic Aviation

Synaptic Aviation at Work. We provide unprecedented visibility into ground operations; avoid delays, lower injuries, minimize damages, and operate at your best. With the help of artificial intelligence you gain control of turnaround activities to prevent avoidable service failures and become predictive over time.
  •  Track activity
  • Real-time alerts
  • Video database
  • Insightful dashboards


These three start ups will be at Aviation Festival Asia at the end of the month. To find out more about these and many other start-ups, get your ticket here.


Hong Kong air passenger traffic thrives with the relaxation of travel restrictions 

Hong Kong air passenger traffic thrives with the relaxation of travel restrictions 

Hong Kong air passenger traffic thrives with the relaxation of travel restrictions


Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) recently announced the January 2023 air traffic figures for Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA). The numbers speak to a strong recovery following the relaxation of COVID-19 related travel restrictions.

The announcement showed passenger traffic reaching 2.1 million in the first month of 2023, a year-on-year surge of 28 times. Reportedly all passenger segments grew substantially following the relaxation of travel restrictions towards the end of 2022, but the most significant increases were recorded with passengers moving to and from Southeast Asia and Japan.

The Airport Authority added:

Due to the relaxation of travel restrictions, all passenger segments experienced significant growths, particularly Hong Kong residents, compared to the same month last year […] Strong passenger demand was observed in the second half of the month due to the Chinese New Year holiday. The re-opening of the Mainland market to international travel also drove a recovery in passenger traffic between Hong Kong and Mainland China.

The start to a strong recovery is visible in these latest figures with the airport handling over 80,000 passengers daily at its peak last month. This volume of passengers is representative of approximately 40 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. Notably, international passenger flights also increased from 4,427 to 10,665 year-on-year, up 141 per cent.

The figures supplied by AAHK marking a promising start to the new year and bode well for the reopening of the region more broadly.


At Aviation Festival Asia next week a CEO panel will discuss “What is the future of the Asian aviation industry as we come out of the pandemic and how will further digital technology adoption, sustainability, collaboration, and new business models help shape the outlook for 2023 and beyond?” Get your ticket now to be a part of the conversation. 


Article by Jess Brownlow


Smart airline retailing: The new merchandising and revenue frontier

Smart airline retailing: The new merchandising and revenue frontier

During the pandemic, when air passenger traffic was at an all-time low, a few smart airlines demonstrated record-breaking sales by earning even more than 50% of their revenue from their ancillary products and services. Indeed, ancillary sales revenue is no longer seen as an airline’s secondary option. Instead, it has now taken a front seat in the airline business model.

In this context, we need to note that the traditional way of retailing does not cater to today’s tech-savvy customer who is information-rich but time-poor. In the current era of disruptive technological changes and a highly commoditized travel world, airlines have a cut-throat competition where products and services that may be cutting edge today can become outdated soon.

Adopting the advanced retailing concept in the airline industry is going to be one of the biggest transformations in the industry.

Customer loyalty is not what it used to be. With increased transparency on comparative prices and easier access to booking tools, travelers are increasingly loyal to those that provide the best prices and experiences. These fluctuating trends and rising consumer expectations make it challenging for airlines to keep up with the changing times.

The USP in this competition is the outstanding customer experience that revolves around a customer-centric approach. This allows an airline to deliver a positive and personalized experience at every stage of its customer journey. They can interact with customers based on their needs, adopt a fact-based approach to decisions using customer data as a primary source of insight, and embrace new channels to build a customer-focused culture, creating value across the way.

Many forward-thinking airlines have already embarked on adopting smart merchandising strategies to deliver a tailored, personalized, and seamless experience to individual travelers.


airline merchandising blog _rules engine

Smart merchandising strategies driven by an AI-based retail rule engine


In this blog, we will attempt to explore various best practices, frameworks, strategies, and techniques for an airline to deploy a successful merchandising strategy. This strategy will deliver exceptional customer experiences along with higher conversion rates.

The mantra behind successful merchandising revolves around five key areas, and they are:

  • Identify the right personas for your travelers
  • Contextualize your offer in real-time
  • Deploying the best packaging techniques
  • Target the right time and stage of the journey
  • Deliver a seamless digital experience


1.    Define the right persona for your travelers

An airline caters to millions of passengers in a year. Every customer has unique needs and has a different perception of products and service values. If you understand those differences and are flexible in how you offer the services they need, you can gain a competitive advantage.

Customer segmentation is a strategy to divide customers into various groups or personas having similar characteristics, wants, and needs.

Traditionally, airlines used to segment customers based on the booking class, which today holds limited relevance and doesn’t reflect complex passenger behavior. To overcome this challenge, airlines can leverage technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning to develop self-learning models which analyze the below-listed factors and self-calibrate to optimize the personas.

  • Geographical: Country, state, climate, food habits, etc.
  • Demographic: Age, gender, marital status, family size, nationality, ethnicity
  • Behavioral: Spending pattern, price sensitivity, need for flexibility, loyalty index, CLI
  • Psychographic: Personality traits, activities, interest

At the same time, each persona defined by the airline must be:

  • Measurable: In terms of volume, purchasing power, and other characteristics, an airline can predict as well as target the revenue and profit a segment can make.
  • Accessible: The persona is easily accessible so that the airline can approach them.
  • Differentiable: Each persona must be unique and reacts differently to the market mix.
  • Actionable: Airlines be able to provide value to the segment.

A good segmentation strategy should have a persona for each passenger category and reveal underserved segments. For example, an airline receives most of its bookings from guest users, and the airline does not possess any historical data individually for these customers. But, by using engaging factors like demographical and geographical, airlines can achieve segmentation. In a recent survey conducted with an airline, it was discovered that young travelers between the age of 18-35 going from Oslo to Switzerland during winter had shown an affinity towards XL baggage for carrying their skiing kits. So, using such insights, airlines can target customers with similar personas to elevate sales.


2.    Contextualize your offer in real-time

Now that we know each traveler’s persona has specific needs, the second step is to set the right context so that the customer understands the value that a recommended ancillary is going to deliver. For example, a business executive taking an early morning flight from an airport that experiences a high passenger load around the time of departure can open an opportunity to sell fast-track ancillary.

Contextualizing helps the traveler understand the benefits of the offer then and there.

Airlines can tap into such opportunities by leveraging an intelligent merchandising engine. These build a knowledge graph for each persona to understand their affinities towards ancillaries. They then evaluate it with real-time contexts like load factors, routes, flight duration, and peak hours through a robust scoring algorithm for ancillary recommendation across various stages of the travel lifecycle. Doing so significantly improves the likelihood of making a purchase hence, delivering a higher conversion rate.


3.    Deploy the best packaging techniques

Airlines use various offer creation and packaging techniques like bundled ancillaries, unbundled ancillaries, and hybrid bundling (branded fares) to personalize an offer. Each of these techniques plays a role when targeted to the right customer. Branded fares or bundled ancillaries deliver a simple approach to building an all-inclusive fare, reducing the complexity of choice and making comparison and purchase decisions easier for passengers. But at the same time, with evolving customer expectations, it is a huge challenge for an airline to decide which ancillary items to bundle and which items to offer separately.

The best-fit package results in value to the customer and higher per-passenger revenue for the airline.

Deploying an intelligent merchandising engine that can generate multidimensional insights on ancillary sales performance across all channels and travel lifecycles can help revenue managers optimize their packaging techniques or even take a step ahead to tailor the bundles in real-time for a customer.


4.    Target the right time and stage of the journey

Airlines can maximize their ancillary sales by encouraging customers at various stages of their travel lifecycle, beginning from the inspiration that starts the planning in the first place, all the way through the booking process, to pre-and post-trip engagement. Each stage offers a unique upsell or cross-sell opportunity that a traveler may consider.

The most important thing that airlines need to keep in mind here is to offer the customer the right product at the right time.

Not everything can be sold during the booking; travelers develop their needs as they proceed. Airlines can use their data to understand customers’ specific needs to determine the behavioral factors, purchasing patterns, and affinity factors for each persona.

The choice of the product can be determined by the customer persona and contextualization. In contrast, the stage of the journey should be targeted, considering when it will be needed the most. On the other hand, the choice of the channel can be determined by the accessibility factors, and the price should prove to be a good value to the customer – it should neither be too high nor too less.

For instance, a family of four going for a week-long summer vacation would be interested in booking a hotel room at the time of flight booking. A few days before departure, when they start packing, they might opt for extra luggage and finally may need a taxi on the day of departure. Whereas a backpacker who is a price-sensitive traveler may look for a cozy hostel room at the time of booking and may be interested in some good adventure deals as per destination.


5.    Deliver a seamless digital experience

Delivering a one-click buying experience that enables customers to make informed purchases can be a differentiator among competitors. Along with the perfect offer, an airline should focus on the user experience they deliver to the customer.

The user experience should be fast, easy, and intuitive so that a customer can easily navigate to buy and manage their purchases.

An average user experience can easily make customers disinterested, even if they see a good offer. On the other hand, a good user experience delivers high-quality content and information about a product, which in turn converts lookers into bookers.

Airlines need to understand the challenges associated with different distribution channels, primarily indirect and direct.

  • Indirect channels

From a customer perspective, shopping through an indirect channel provides a disjointed user experience where they are not presented with personalized offers and don’t have access to the products they could purchase from an airline. From the airline’s perspective, they have to manage multiple EMDs for the ancillary purchase per ticket while distributing via a GDS channel.

  • Direct channels

To overcome these challenges, digitally matured airlines have adopted IATA standards such as New Distribution Capability (NDC) and ONE Order to modernize their product retailing and create a transparent shopping experience. NDC allows airlines to easily sell ancillary along with rich content directly to aggregators like OTA and GDS via a set of standard XML APIs (which was not possible earlier) and get away with the challenges of EMD issuance for ancillary purchases.

The capabilities of NDC clubbed with AI models can help airlines build a smart & advanced retailing system that offers customers a better product and more value. NDC enables airlines to sell flights and ancillaries the retail way, and AI-based technologies enable the airlines to add a personalized and contextual wrapper, so you are selling the right thing and have a higher look-to-book ratio. This enables the airline to transition from non-personal selling to retail-driven personalized selling.



The power of digital airline retailing is no more a secret. Revenue managers have identified its real potential and are leveraging it to target more sales. As we enter the digital revolution, the right set of techniques along with technologies like AI/ ML and big data could be the first step towards deploying successful merchandising strategies towards building a great customer experience and path to profitability.


Article by Nagarro


Perth Airport set to open a virtual reality lounge

Perth Airport set to open a virtual reality lounge

Perth Airport set to open a virtual reality lounge


This May, Perth Airport will be introducing a Gaming Point VR lounge delivered by Travel Point Group. The lounge will transform the waiting process with access to a hi-tech, VR gaming experience. Located at Terminal 1 International before customs and security screening, the lounge will be accessible to all domestic and international passengers as well as the general public.

Unusually, the lounge will include one immersive VR escape room for up to five players per session, with each session lasting 30-45 minutes. Additionally, people can choose from a range of individual high-speed internet gaming stations linked to the steam network allowing players to continue on from their own accounts or enjoy solo gaming options as newcomers.

Growing rapidly, the VR market generated 4.7 billion USD in 2022 and, according to Deloitte research, will generate an estimated 7 billion USD by the end of 2023. The technology already has multiple existing applications within the aviation industry ranging from entertainment to teaching. However, it remains “relatively niche” amongst the general population for the time being, with an active installed base of just 22 million in 2023. This novelty is partly where the airport VR experience can tap in to this growth area, offering people a new experience in an unexpected setting.

Looking towards the future, Graeme Stewart, Director of Point Group said:

“Point Group is in advanced discussions with many major airports around the globe to deliver exciting new experiential offers using virtual reality and high-speed gaming facilities.”

Wanting to create new experiences in airports that move beyond eating, drinking, and shopping, Gaming Point began as an ambitious step to introduce VR gaming into an airport setting. By May, the lounge will offer a innovative, collaborative experience for passengers, whilst simultaneously diversifying the retail offering at Perth Airport.

For similar content see: Dubai International (DXB) introduced their new gaming lounge ‘Game Space’.


Article by Jess Brownlow