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Are you flying with first-class technology?

MIS Asia | Sept. 3, 2009
David Brett, president of Amadeus Asia Pacific, sheds light on the changing travel landscape and how technology is helping airlines to keep customers happy.

Time for an upgrade

However, many airlines are moving towards a change that will enhance your travel experience. Despite the fact that the global recession has hit the airline industry hard, in an unprecedented drop in travel, worse than 9/11 or SARS, many carriers have signed up to shift their technology to a new platform that will help them to survive and prosper. Why now? Perhaps because crises force airlines to analyse their systems and processes, to trim back on costs and to ensure that customers remain loyal. It is in periods of heavy economic pressure that airlines need to build and maintain customer loyalty, and only the best IT can help them improve the flight experience and thus customer relations. Operational stress can also help airlines evaluate what parts of their internal and external processes are not working well, and then set those parts right.

Despite financial gurus saying that the current downturn may have reached its lowest point, the potential escalation of the H1N1 flu outbreak and political unrest in Asia Pacific have clearly shown that volatility is the only constant factor in the travel industry. There will always be some threat, but some airlines will be able to manage the risk better than others. 

When airlines operating on legacy systems consider the capabilities of their IT, it is clear that there is a huge gap, and only a change to a more modern system can help. More than 70 airlines globally have come to this realisation, and are outsourcing their IT to travel technology experts such as Amadeus.

For example, the Star Alliance selected Amadeus IT platform as the recommended common system for its members. This will help member airlines to significantly reduce both the ongoing costs of IT development and maintenance, improve their operational capabilities and offer an enhanced and consistent level of customer service across their partnership. In the future, a Singapore Airlines passenger travelling on a code-share flight with a Star Alliance member will find his or her passenger data such as seat or meal preferences recorded and duly noted by partner airlines as well.

In Asia Pacific, many of the leading players are also on their way to an IT transformation. Last year, Qantas became the first airline globally to complete migration to Amadeus Altéa customer management system (CMS). Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and V Australia are among the others who are in the process of revolutionising their IT with Amadeus. Technology is becoming the key differentiator between those airlines which are prepared for the future and those that arent.

Speaking at the Malaysian Association of Professional Speakers seminar in Kuala Lumpur, Tony Fernandes, chief executive officer of AirAsia, said three factors are crucial in running a business and navigating turbulent timescreativity, brand innovation and technology. The secret to staying in the black even through dips in the travel cycle is to create a streamlined, flexible company model that can easily adapt to changing circumstances and new opportunities. To do that, one needs to be a more advanced, more cunning user of IT than ones competitors.


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