The Critical Need to Digitize Travel Document Verification

The Critical Need to Digitize Travel Document Verification

For decades, passengers and airlines alike have been suffering from the inconvenience of the manual processes surrounding physical travel document verification.

Slow boarding processes, longer lines, tedious counter transactions, and higher ground handling costs have all negatively impacted the travel industry and the overall experience of an airline traveler. Whether it is surge hiring due to sky-high talent shortages or widespread flight delays, it has become clear that the effects of these manual processes are unnecessary, outdated, and costly for airlines.


Why Go Digital?

When you think of all the physical travel documents that airlines need to verify and process—ESTAs, visas, and passports, just to name a few—it’s quite a long list. Digital verification, done in advance of travel, is the way to go: a simplified checklist enables a more user-friendly experience for passengers, giving them sufficient time to obtain any missing visa or health pass and to renew expired documents.

The time it requires for passengers to visit a check-in desk or interact with an agent can be reduced, if not eliminated, eventually, with the digitization of document verification. Airlines who have already implemented these measures are boosting online check-in rates, increasing on-time departures, and improving their customer experience for passengers—many of whom are keenly interested in moving to an entirely digital, self-service travel process as soon as possible.

Daon Photo 1


Old News

The desire for seamless, contactless travel didn’t just start with the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly all the behavioral shifts in airline passengers today have merely been accentuated and accelerated by the pandemic.

In fact, Tom Grissen, CEO of Daon—the company behind VeriFLY, the world’s most popular travel app for health credentials and travel documents—knew that these trends would soon demand the biggest innovations in travel. In a recent travel magazine interview, Tom stated: “We created VeriFLY to solve a much broader problem than COVID—how to remove the total burden of physical travel documents.”


Looking Forward

For the foreseeable future, checking for vaccinations, up-to-date boosters, and other health credentials will most likely remain an intermittent obligation for airlines.

As an industry, travel is still only scratching the surface of what’s possible through digital transformation. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities, which have already proven to significantly drive down costs and spur operational efficiencies, will be of great benefit in removing the burden of errors and misinterpretation that takes place during the manual handling and verification of physical travel documents.

There is a critical need to continue to move away from siloed document verification systems so that passengers can share and receive data across their entire journey—and not just at one or two stops along the way.

Airline and travel industry leaders are now tasked with imagining, designing, and delivering innovations for the faster, smarter, and more seamless travel experiences of tomorrow.

Daon Photo 2

By Daon.

Daon has been the most trusted name in biometric identity verification and authentication for over two decades, chosen to secure over one billion identities around the globe, and trusted by many top brands in the financial, telco, healthcare, travel, and public sectors. VeriFLY®, Daon’s purpose-built solution for seamless travel, is the world’s most popular travel app for health credentials and travel documents, including visas and passports. Developed alongside travel operators, VeriFLY has helped more than 10 million travelers, reduced staffing requirements by up to 30%, increased processing times by up to 45%, and is used by many brands including American Airlines, British Airways, Carnival, and Hyatt. Learn more at

Digital Innovations – A Necessity for the Travel and Retail Industries in the ‘New Normal’

Digital Innovations – A Necessity for the Travel and Retail Industries in the ‘New Normal’

The beginning of 2020 brought with it the hopes for a new decade. The year which started with bright smiles, successful project launches, and travel plans, has now become a long haul waiting for life to get back to normal. The change meant so much more to the people who spent their days within the airport. It didn’t seem like the projections for the travel industry would be achievable.

Looking back a few months now, we hadn’t anticipated this drastic change. Nobody ever thought that we would see a day where not a single plane would fly in the air, that there would be a global lockdown, or that crude oil would be so cheap! The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us a new world. While we are still trying to grasp the lifestyle changes we need to make, organizations and companies are trying to deal with lost sales and loss of revenues. The new challenge has also driven the need for organizations to re-think their approach and restructure. The trust with their customers can be built now only by ensuring that safety and sanitization are maintained, which is possible only by understanding the customer’s perspective. The challenge will be to revisit processes and abide by government-issued health guidelines.

At Pittsburgh International Airport, high-traffic floor areas are being cleaned and disinfected via robots using UV-C rays. JetBlue is cleaning airport terminals using a hospital-grade disinfectant and has also increased the cleaning frequency. T.S.A. officers need to change their gloves after each pat-down or on customer’s request. Delta is using a mist-based disinfectant via an “electrostatic sprayer.” While United Airlines has introduced their ‘all in one’ economy snack bag that contains a sanitizer wipe along with bottled water and snacks, other airlines are asking customers to eat food before traveling.

The pandemic has also brought attention to facts that were ignored. The retail experience within stores at the airport isn’t the same as the retail experience on the high street. Retailers at airports are yet to catch-up with the innovations that are happening outside of their world. With COVID-19, the need to invest in the digital transformation has strengthened. The challenge to maintain the same experience of a product/brand inside the airport and outside remains and is solidified.

The following innovations need to be adopted by organizations and the travel industry in general to ensure the continuation of their businesses. COVID-19 has definitely pre-empted innovation, which was inevitable due to the ‘more online interaction and less physical’ preference of the millennials:

1) Digital transformation: The key strategies for digital transformation are driving customer experiences with customer data platforms and personalization. Tracking customer interaction at every touchpoint within the airport, with the brands and their products enables better segmentation and predictive analytics.

2) Gamification / Virtual Reality: With COVID-19, hygiene and social distancing have become the norm. Gone are the days when customers tested sample products before purchasing. The panic of the pandemic is prevalent and here to stay as a part of our life. Companies will need to think out of the box. To avoid physical contact and still ensure customer tries the product before purchasing, several tools are available in the market today. Brands have their own ‘Virtual Try-on’ tools and quizzes to recommend products to consumers.

3) Contactless payment options: COVID-19 has emphasized the need for increased hygiene and sanitization. In stores, making cash payments is the riskiest transaction. The heightened sense of sanitization will make customers avoid such transactions. To enhance customer experience and their safety, contactless payments at retail outlets will be the new norm. Technologies like NFC can help brands to enable this.

4) Loyalty: Technology can be used to enhance loyalty for travelers by firstly integrating loyalty services commonly across all stores of the brand. Secondly, via an initiative to tightly couple loyalty programs of the brand with travel service providers (like airlines and airports). This way, consumers can see the added advantage of remaining loyal to a brand, and also enjoy enhanced loyalty since the services are integrated. Customers prefer value to price, and a tightly coupled loyalty program can enable it.

5) Super apps: Especially with most consumers using multiple devices and multiple channels for varied needs – booking tickets, tracking status, tracking loyalty points for the airline, buying products, etc. If all these different apps used by the customer can be clubbed into one super app, the benefits will be immense. The customer can use the same app to book their ticket, check status (of flights or product deliveries), make a purchase of a product from the brand, and use the same app to track loyalty points (for the airline and the product purchase). This connected app will enable the customer to have everything required under one umbrella. This again requires a well-integrated system of companies/brands with airports and travel service providers.



In summary, the above innovations need to become essential in organizations’ standard operating procedures to ensure that they can survive the new normal post-COVID-19. This is the opportunity for every organization to stop, assess their current set-up, and measure up for future innovations. The call for a well-connected integrated world is undying and will be here to stay, just as we tackle our new normal with the COVID-19, which is also here to stay.
It is possible that in the near future, a customer journey is well-connected and integrated – to ensure a seamless and safe experience.

Shwetha Jha, Principal Consultant at Mindtree

How Air Malta Is Reinventing Its Digital Experience – Part 2

How Air Malta Is Reinventing Its Digital Experience – Part 2

The face masks are off, those big conferences with thousands of people are back on the calendar, and travel is now so popular that it’s causing turmoil at some airports. It may seem difficult to remember that it was just last year when countries had their borders restricted, we were getting this new vaccine, and all our meetings had to be online. This was the scenario when Air Malta decided to go forward with the idea of shifting its traditional approach to the digital experience.

Starting something innovative in your company might be scary at first. You must have a clear plan in your mind and the right team to execute it. You need to prepare a pitch to convince your CEO and stakeholders as their absolute support is crucial to determine if this idea is going anywhere. Even so, you decide to go ahead, but you can’t have any physical meeting because the world is dealing with a new virus. At this time many of us would have thought that leaving things as they were is the best option to avoid any headaches. That was not what happened with Wayne Grixti.

The CTO of Air Malta believed it was time for a major change in the way this airline was serving its customers. Wayne gathered all forces, including their digital team, to support and drive this digital transformation journey forward. Together with Branchspace, they were able to implement a modernized booking engine and a new website. The results are a constant increase in sales, and, most importantly, positive feedback from their customers.

The way this project had to be handled due to the circumstances, shows how digital is playing such a powerful role in our everyday lives. This wouldn’t have been possible a decade ago for sure, so it’s time to take advantage of what technology has to offer and use it to overcome any challenges. The demand for an innovative digital experience has changed the way we work forever and companies needed to adapt quickly. So why should the way we travel stay the same?

Listen to the interview on Spotify here.


Thank you Wayne for taking the time to talk to us about the digital journey related to the Triplake implementation. As CTO of Air Malta, can you explain to us what was the role the technology played in this project?

I started envisioning what Air Malta could do in the digital space before I joined when I was only a passenger. I used to travel a lot, mostly on Air Malta flights, so I interacted with the digital channels quite often That’s when I started putting down notes on how I could improve this digital experience. Then I had the opportunity to be the CTO of the airline.

From day one I started pushing my vision and many people’s vision on how this digital experience would look like. Basically, having a unified user experience and an omnichannel for the user’s journey.

We started showing the RFP. This was back in July 2020 and we partnered with Branchspace, who understood our vision from day one and where we wanted to take this journey. After nearly two years, and most of it was done online without even having one physical meeting, we managed to launch a website and a modernized booking engine and we’re in the process of launching also a mobile app and a loyalty program.


Quite impressive. We were talking a bit with Antoine (Vella) as well about what it meant as everything was done virtually. The teams hadn’t actually met in person because it wasn’t possible with Covid. Yet, in spite of all of this, we managed it together and there were already the first results. By the summer, the booking platform was ready and started. What were the critical success factors from your perspective? How did you manage this side of a difficult underlying situation?

Yesterday, I was at a conference, my first after two years of Covid, and the topic was how we, as technology leaders, manage to convince our peers, our CEOs, our CFOs, and our chairmen to continue investing in the technology. Even during the restrictions, during Covid, during the impact we had because of these restrictions. So that when we’re back to normal, we will be there with a modernized, digitalized and transformed experience.

I think now we are bearing the fruit of the seed that was sown back then. If I had to summarize it, the critical success factors for me were two. The shift between the sales channels, to increase the sales from the new booking engine, and it was also in time when travel was starting to ramp up.
That was a key milestone and we managed to deliver it in the shortest period of time, but in time also when we were starting to recover and to the positive feedback which we had from our passengers and our customers.

We were used to receiving a monthly report and the first item on the feedback list was also saying: improve your website, improve your booking engine, improve this, improve that. But following the launch, those negative comments became positive comments. That for me is also another critical success factor.


Happy to hear this of course. Actually, you reminded me that in addition to all of these specific circumstances, there were also changes in the top management. The chairman, the CEO at the time the evaluation was made, left and then the chairman and CEO joined only in January when the project started, and the CCO joined even later, correct?

Yes, correct. We started issuing the RFP when there was a CEO and the board which then even the board and the chairman changed. So that was also a challenge in itself, but together we managed to convince the new board and the new CEO to continue supporting and championing the project. If we had to list it as another critical success factor, I think that would be one as well. So we have three now.

For me it was very nice to hear that there was this full support. When I joined Branchspace last year and wanted to hear the feedback, David Curmi, the chairman, said it is a critical part of the digital transformation journey and it’s only the beginning, and we see this as a long-term partnership. It was of course very nice to hear.


In this digital transformation journey that Air Malta has embarked on, you have planned quite a lot of other innovative approaches because you really want to differentiate from the competition, correct?

Yes. We had a very old loyalty program which we were also looking at. We have our technology strategy but in parallel, we also have our customer experience strategy which goes very much hand in hand with this customer 360 Experience or Customer Journey. We started with the website, the booking engine, but in the pipeline we are also looking and soon we will be launching the new loyalty program which is based on innovative technology as well. As an airline, we should be looking at innovative technology to empower the business to make our organization sustainable. I found a lot of support from senior management, from the board, from everyone

The mobile app is the next step. Hopefully, we will be able to launch it very soon and eventually other channels for businesses and companies and organizations.


Is there anything in hindsight you would do differently in the whole process?

Before we started, I was a little bit sceptical about how this will go through, when it comes to delivering from A to Z a project totally online without even one physical meeting. The area where I was a bit sceptical was not the development was not the implementation deployment but the business analysis and the requirements gathering. There you have a number of stakeholders and a number of users and you need a lot of interaction there.

Luckily we had the online tools to do it together, with you and the other stakeholders, because it’s not just Air Malta and Branchspace, there are other stakeholders that were involved in the project.


If you had to summarize the journey so far and the achievement just in one sentence, what would you say?

When there’s goodwill, when there’s a good relationship between the organization, the partner who is supplying, the application in the system and flexibility, and room for manoeuvre, I think you can take any project and deliver it with success. From day one we had a gentleman’s agreement between us that we would have retained this kind of relationship even before signing the contract and I think we managed it well and now we’re really seeing that it worked.

Probably something which many airlines forget: how important the whole partnership is because if that works you will achieve anything also in the future because the future is dynamic as well.


Is there anything Stephen from your side that you would like to add? Was there any criticism of the solution?

The feedback was very positive. Upon implementation, we immediately saw a sustainable increase in the number of bookings. The online experience of the new website was received very well. The two big projects coming up at Air Malta are customer-related. The 360-view of the customer in the sense that both the mobile app and the loyalty program focus specifically on making the customer journey and the customer experience with Air Malta. I believe this is the way forward. This is the way Air Malta would like itself to develop. So, the customer will be the central focus in the forthcoming months and years with Air Malta.


Yes, this will lead to success. Focus on the customer. Thank you so much.

Dario Martinho, Communication Team, Branchspace

Technology: Taking the Airlines Testing Industry To The Future Faster

Technology: Taking the Airlines Testing Industry To The Future Faster

With the advent of modern technologies impacting every industry, the travel sector has been ahead in terms of adopting it at a fast pace, specifically to help airline operations become more efficient and flexible. In the airlines industry, the margins are thin; it is imperative to innovate constantly to keep the margins high. It is an industry that cuts across all others like retail, entertainment, manufacturing, network and telecom, hospitality, transportation, payments, maintenance, insurance, cargo and catering. It is the only industry that is so diversified, in terms of inter-dependency. It is unimaginable to think of a smooth, safe and secure end-to-end journey without the advent of technology.

Some innovations and interesting uses of technology adoption include smart speakers in hotels, virtual reality tours from travel companies, new and seamless ways to check-in, self-driving guide robots, digital twin (digital twin is a virtual representation that serves as the real-time digital counterpart of a physical object or process) for operations etc. Technology is becoming all-pervasive, and we are now also witnessing new horizons of development after 5G.
At Mindtree, we have the expertise and experience in terms of validating and testing these complex systems and have reached the pinnacle in executing and providing support during multiple releases to our clients. We have worked with leading airlines and have understood their complex systems, which has helped us gain domain cognizance and align ourselves with their vision and goal. We have brought new and innovative testing solutions, and delivery and cost models to ensure that we deliver at and above pace with the industry.

In the past, the work that we have done has led to on time delivery, reduction in manual effort and cost, faster time-to-market, and less defects in production, leading to long term relationships with our customers. A few instances include:

  • Set up continuous test and manage delivery model for one of the largest low-cost carriers, saving millions over the years
  • Tested complex big data-based critical revenue management for a large European airline
  • Set up common framework and advanced automation tools for a Canadian airline, saving 70-80% effort
  • Validated multiple commercial and operational systems for another large airline in US, bringing in multi-million dollars in savings
  • Brought in digital and automation transformation for a few airlines in Middle East, saving 800 man-days of effort
  • Verified complex scenarios for seat assignment algorithm and UI
  • Provided inflight testing in a simulated environment using real devices to test scenarios that actually replicate the environment 30-40,000 feet above earth, and validate the videos, images etc.
  • Our testing of crew management, network planning, and MRO forms just a fraction of our testing expertise
  • To test the migration of cloud applications, we carried out multivariate and significant cross browsers testing through tools.

We all love technology, and I would like to quote from the book, ‘Factfulness’: “When we have a fact-based world view, we see that the world is not as bad as it seems, and we can see what we have to do to keep making it better.”

This is exactly what technological and digital transformation is doing to humanity and particularly the airline industry – making it better with each step. We are moving towards approaches that enable organizations to rapidly identify, vet and automate as many processes as possible using technology, such as robotic process automation (RPA), low-code application platforms (LCAP), artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual assistants. With AI/ML-enabled automation frameworks and more futuristic technologies like quantum computing, AI, IoT, 5G, metaverse, NFT and digital avatars, testing will definitely gain more momentum. Going forward, we will look to explore more innovative ways to test multiple scenarios to ensure that we reduce time-to-test and have 0% defect delivery.

Arvinder Negi, Senior Testing Manager at Mindtree

Case Study: Lufthansa Cargo Soars Toward Cloud Readiness With Mindtree And TIBCO

Case Study: Lufthansa Cargo Soars Toward Cloud Readiness With Mindtree And TIBCO

During the global pandemic, Lufthansa Cargo faced many of the same challenges as other airlines: decreased passenger flights and increased freight requests. With growing demand for medical supplies, electronics, spare parts, and equipment during a supply chain crisis, Lufthansa Cargo had to pivot quickly.

Switching out passenger seats for cargo and bringing freight from the ocean into the air, the company retrofitted passenger planes into what have become known as “preighters.” Although adopting “preighters’’ was one of the most prominent adaptations Lufthansa Cargo made to accommodate market demands, the company still faced pressing issues involving freighter operations amid numerous travel restrictions, crew requirements, layovers, risk of crew quarantine, multi-leg trips, traffic rights, and more.

The company began its digital transformation journey years ago, but the pandemic accelerated the need to modernize additional processes to easily support rapidly changing global conditions. Before the pandemic, Lufthansa Cargo used several legacy applications to support its business processes. IT had to react on very short notice and adjust its systems within days while keeping operations stable and performing day-to-day.

To fuel its digital transformation and better respond to changing conditions, Lufthansa Cargo wanted to upgrade its technology to enable better responsiveness, speed time-to market, improve service support and quality, automate services, and reduce costs.

Lufthansa Cargo worked with TIBCO Partner Mindtree to integrate all its platforms into a single framework: integration, messaging, and APIs. With TIBCO’s comprehensive Connected Intelligence solutions, the Mindtree and Lufthansa Cargo teams created a model that improved Lufthansa’s current capabilities while pushing its transition journey forward.

The company had two main objectives:

  • First, become a digital company for digital booking, pricing, and revenue management.
  • Second, achieve digital fulfillment. Get rid of all the paper, automate processes, improve service quality, and provide a seamless transport journey for clients from original shipper to final consignee. Mindtree was responsible for gathering business requirements, maintaining applications, and migrating software. The TIBCO partner also developed a flexible API architecture on an on premises platform to host services and applications for end-to-end operations. The platform upgrade was key to cloud migration and cloud readiness.

With its new infrastructure, Lufthansa Cargo’s integration platform is now cloud-ready, and it has moved closer to its cloud-native goals. By moving to the cloud, the carrier can easily lower costs and accelerate service capabilities. Mindtree’s devOps support for the core cargo applications helped accelerate transformation and significantly reduce Lufthansa’s time-to-market.

The platform’s API-based programming connects to previously incompatible programs and legacy systems. Lufthansa Cargo reports successfully replacing 20-year-old legacy systems from start to finish and integrating all of its multiple CRMs. Its new integration platform brought together more than 80 applications and systems and bridged a wide data gap.

Besides installing a new API self-service platform, the company expanded its digital sales channels with dynamic spot prices that can be booked immediately. Dynamic prices are generated in real time via the company’s new Rapid Rate Response (RRR) mechanism, also enabled through the new integration platform. Lately, Mindtree has helped Lufthansa Cargo scale-up delivery capabilities according to business demand; development capacity on the central integration platform is no longer a critical resource bottleneck for the company’s digital transformation goals. Working in collaboration, TIBCO and Mindtree have empowered Lufthansa Cargo with integration solutions that bridged the company’s wide data gap and fueled transformation so it can soar to the cloud.

By Mindtree. See the full case study here.

How Air Malta is Reinventing Their Digital Experience

How Air Malta is Reinventing Their Digital Experience

We’re hearing the church bells ringing, the waves of the Mediterranean Sea crashing into one of Europe’s most ancient forts, the smell of pasta is in the air, and the sky has not even one cloud. In case you haven’t guessed it by now, we’re in Malta, one of the smallest countries in the world, with a history that goes back thousands of years, and where new history is being made.

Exploring the island’s roads we’re taken back in time by seeing megaliths older than pyramids or the knights of Malta. But in a country full of ancient history, something really innovative is happening.

Like so many travels in the history of the Mediterranean Sea, embarking on the digital journey can be quite a challenge for many companies, and if we add a pandemic in the process it might seem like an impossible mission. Well, that was not the case for Air Malta. The determination this team has shown to make this digital dream come true was an example of how companies should face the many challenges that come in the way.

We had the pleasure to meet two of the members of this airline, Antoine Vella, Head of Digital Commerce at Air Malta, and Stephen Gauci, Head of Corporate Communications at Air Malta. Both are ready to be part of the change coming to the travel industry.

Can you tell us what this Air Malta project in terms of digital transformation entails?

We come from a legacy background where we were extremely tight down in our technology. We decided to reinvent the way we do digital, with a new website and a new e-commerce platform. We felt we needed to really move forward with our digital and leave the traditional legacy behind. The new way we’re doing things now gives us the flexibility we want from our technology to move quickly and grow faster and reduce our costs of distribution.


What is so special and innovative about the solution you implemented?

It’s modular so we can choose exactly what we want to take, for example just the website or just the e-commerce platform, or the mobile app. Apart from that, there’s also the personalization aspect which is very important. When you have data on your customers you can focus on creating products just for them. The engine will help us to provide the right product at the right time of the customer journey. It’s flexible, so it gives the airline people to change things as they want without having to wait for the traditional release cycle. All these aspects will help Air Malta to grow quickly and since the designs were very clear, UI was very good, it helped us in terms of conversion rate.


That’s amazing. Are you saying that before the digital team from the airline couldn’t just change something as part of the booking process themselves?

It was very limited. They could change some things like text or translations, but they couldn’t change big items because the previous platform was shared among airlines so it couldn’t be customized to a specific airline as much as we wanted to. So, if we wanted to introduce a new product it could take months because we had to follow a release plan and wait to see if that product would also make sense for the other airlines attached to this platform.


What does it mean for Air Malta’s customers? What’s different for them now?

The products are now clearly displayed, the way the customer flows from one page to another page is more user-friendly, so they see their flights first then they can move to select extras. These things are not constantly showing to customers so everything is well displayed. That improves conversion because there is no opportunity for the customer to get lost in the product offer. Everything is clearer.


You said you saw the results in conversion quite fast.

Yes, after two weeks. We went live in August and each month the results were better. We have more sales, better conversion rates, and more revenue.


I assume you compared it with the pre-covid time, so it was not just the peak season.

Yes, it was not just because of the peak season. The results were visible immediately after we launched the platform.


How long did it take to launch the platform?

We started working with the technology, in January 2021, and we went live in August. We’re talking about seven or eight months to implement a new website and a new booking engine. In my opinion, that’s extremely fast.


Yes, it’s fast. Particularly, if we consider that Air Malta faces all the complexity of connecting flights or interlining.

And we’re not just selling Air Malta-operated flights. We have to consider ancillaries like bags, seats, sports equipment, fast track. All of these were incorporated in the booking engine. We have the website operating in seven different languages so it’s quite complex. Being able to do this in just eight months is quite an achievement.


There must have been some problems as well. What were the problems and did you manage to solve them?

Problems were mainly related to APIs and getting the right information based on our PSS APIs. We had some issues, but with the Brachspace team, we were able to fix them quickly. Seeing the two teams working together was really important to see the results and get things working.


Air Malta has a big team in digital, it requires people with the right know-how and experience, right?

Definitely. In terms of the number of resources in Air Malta I would say we were a small team, but everyone was super immersed in building this project, and we had good support from the developing team and of course the Branchspace team.


So, collaboration is key.

Yes, collaboration was key. There was never a team trying to take over the other one so to have a clear synergy between teams is really important. The whole project was handled like a big family project so that’s nice.


This was more like a partnership than just a supplier-vendor deal.

It was much more. It was a big team.


That’s what makes this even more amazing. I understand you started this project amid covid so the team couldn’t really meet personally.

Yes, all the preparation was done online.


And now it was the first time that the Branchspace team could come to Malta and meet everyone personally.

To think about a project of this size, you’d think we need to meet personally, but we managed to do it successfully without any physical meeting.


And there must have been a lot of trust in the process.

Trust was very important. It was a very transparent project and everyone stuck to their timelines. That’s how we managed to deliver it on time.


Is there anything you would do differently if you had to start again?

Maybe invest in more resources for Air Malta. I think that would have allowed us to do more. And maybe the physical aspect of being able to meet would also have helped.


There are innovative things still coming up, some game-changing areas, what is happening?

One of the things is our mobile app. It will be the very first mobile app for the airline so it’s important for us. This will help not just with sales, but also so customers can have all the necessary information in their hands. Another thing is the loyalty program. For the first time, customers will be able to redeem points online. This can grow to other areas outside Air Malta and build a community in the country. That’s our vision.


That’s quite unique and that’s what customers are looking for.

We want customers to earn points not just by special travel dates or classes, we want to move away from the old manual process.


So this program will be applied in a much wider area, not just flying.

Exactly. We’re talking about restaurants, hotels, coffee shops, supermarkets maybe even car rentals. The more options the customer has to spend these points the better it will be for the airline.


It’s a lot of good customer-centric initiatives.

We’re trying to become more customer-focused in our approach. And through every channel not just digitally. Our focus should be the customer because, ultimately, we’re here to serve the customer. We need to provide a good service and the technology to serve that purpose.


It can make a difference to your competition. It must be great for you Stephen to be able to communicate about the project. It is a journey so over time there are so many new things happening.

Definitely. We’re having positive news and news that benefits the customers. The website has been having a great impact on the customers which ultimately will benefit the airline with loyalty and repeat visitors.


How did the cooperation in other areas work? There are elements linked to this project like loyalty, distribution, strategy…

It was very important from day one that there was internal alignment between all departments. Everyone knew what the end result was, so all were working in the same direction. Even though it was difficult with covid, the project brought the employees together, so it wasn’t just a digital department success, it was an Air Malta success.


I’ve been in contact with the chairman, David Curmi, and he said this is the beginning of your digital transformation journey. So, it’s a very important element.

It’s one of the most important parts for the airline in terms of how it should grow and how quickly. Digital is really important.


Looking back to January 2021 and now May 2022, in one word, what comes to your mind about the project?

Exciting. It had so many new things and it was happening so fast that sometimes we don’t even have time to process it all. So, that was very exciting.

Dario Martinho, Communication Team, Branchspace