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AVIATION, FINANCIAL SERVICES, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY | Staff Reporter, Singapore
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SIA and Alibaba Group forges alliance to step up services

It will cover flight ticket sales and loyalty programmes, amongst others.

Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Alibaba Group teamed up to provide enhanced experience for travellers through the transformative potential of technology, as well as joining forces in other areas, an announcement revealed. The partnership will include several players in Alibaba Group’s ecosystem including Fliggy, Alibaba Cloud, Alipay and Cainiao Network.

The partnership will cover areas such as flight ticket sales, loyalty programmes, marketing initiatives, cloud services, payments and logistics. It will also be a significant extension of a partnership between SIA and Alipay, which was introduced as a payment option on SIA’s website in 2013.

“Through Alibaba Group’s advanced digital assets and keen insights of Chinese consumer behaviour, we will be able to better understand the needs of our customers and develop more innovative travel solutions to help them explore the world,” SIA executive vice president commercial Mak Swee Wah commented.

The tie up will make KrisFlyer and Fliggy to have two-way points conversion, letting members access benefits from both loyalty programmes. KrisFlyer members will be able to convert their KrisFlyer miles to Fliggy points, and Fliggy members will be able to convert their Fliggy points to KrisFlyer
miles.

Moreover, SIA and Fliggy also intend to explore further opportunities to sync their respective loyalty programmes and to drive cross-promotion of membership services.

The scheme will let eligible Fliggy members at certain loyalty programme tiers will be able to earn KrisFlyer Elite Silver or Gold status. Accompanying privileges could include tier bonuses on actual miles flown, priority reservation waitlist, seat selection privileges, and priority baggage handling.

Fliggy members with KrisFlyer Elite Gold status can also receive benefits from the entire Star Alliance network, the world’s largest airline alliance.

“The lessons we have learned in helping to transform e-commerce and drive important initiatives like New Retail will help drive our partnership with Singapore Airlines and provide our consumers with higher-quality global travel services,” Alibaba global business group president Angel Zhao said.

Aside from the loyalty programme scheme, the tie up is also expected to make SIA and Alipay to work on extending Alipay acceptance beyond flight purchases and into flight products and services, airport services, retail merchandise and ancillary touchpoints.

Together with Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group, SIA will look into how its IT ecosystem including web hosting to apps and membership systems can be bolstered from Alibaba Cloud’s global network. This includes the strong coverage of Alibaba Cloud’s data centres and its capabilities in managing aviation-related resourcing needs through ET Brain, Alibaba Cloud’s proprietary AI programme.

Moreover, SIA will tap Cainiao Network, the logistics arm of Alibaba Group, to improve international air cargo services.
In 2016, an official SIA flagship store was also launched on what was then known as Alitrip (later rebranded “Fliggy”), Alibaba’s travel service platform, for direct purchase of SIA flight tickets by consumers in China.

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