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CO-WRITTEN / PARTNER | Staff Reporter, Singapore

AirAsia's growth will be driven by digital data

The airline is using data to meet customer expectations, and deliver a customised experience.

AirAsia is investing in the growth of its digital services namely BIG Duty Free, BIG Pay, BIG Loyalty, Rokki onboard WiFi and Xcite inflight entertainment. Additionally, in April this year it bought a 50% stake in online travel planner, Touristly, for US$2.6m. Its digital initiatives are expected to boost ancillary income from US$10.50 [per passenger] to US$13.70. Today’s digital savvy traveler expects a more customized and seamless offering such as remembering their previous flight itinerary and customizing promotions. The airline is using data to meet these expectations. These efforts have been extended to on-ground services.

At your (fully-automated) service

In November 2015, AirAsia introduced the Passenger Reconciliation System (PRS) in Changi allowing eligible mobile check-in passengers to skip the manual checks. By end 2015, AirAsia introduced self-service check-in kiosks enabling travelers to self-print their boarding pass and bag tags. In May 2016, AirAsia introduced the auto bag drop function. In the near future, facial recognition at auto immigration gates, auto-boarding gates and home bag tags will complete the automation system, for the seasoned traveler.

The results of AirAsia’s fully automated service has seen cumulative queue time reduced from 20 minutes per passenger for an 85% load factor to under 10 minutes, without compromising security standards. It also halved check-in time at the airport from two minutes to one, for the seasoned traveler.

Automation has also increased productivity and reduced operating costs. Before automation, it would take the airline an hour to process 30 passengers per counter, which are rented for fixed time blocks. Today, a large percentage of passengers check-in at home and head straight to the boarding gate, reducing counter rental while staff are up skilled into more valued added roles. Ground staff now act as brand ambassadors, assisting travelers on ground and helping them upgrade their onboard packages.

AirAsia is the only airline in Changi which has seen a take-up rate higher than 75% for its automated services, within six months of implementation. The system has given passengers total control over their travel time, enabling them to plan their journey.

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