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Star Alliance focuses on digital transformation

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Published: May 15, 2017

The Star Alliance, which marked its 20th anniversary in ceremonies in Frankfurt this weekend, is focused on initiatives that will better serve the almost 690 million passengers who fly each year on one or more of its carriers.

Pedro Heilbron, CEO at Copa Airlines and Star Alliance chairman, said during media briefings in Frankfurt May 14 that while a few white spots remain in the alliance’s network, most notably in Australia and Russia, adding new member airlines was no longer a priority.

“There are not many airlines that are interested in joining and that Star is interested in having join, although membership is not closed,” Heilbron said.

A major focus for Star, which has a 50-strong dedicated staff at its Frankfurt headquarters, is transforming the alliance into an organization that uses digital technology to deliver on the seamless service promise.

“We have a brand and we have built a very strong proposition, but like any other business we have to adapt to a changing environment and landscape,” Star CEO Jeffrey Goh said. “We want to be much more focused on our customer proposition … airline customers expect their journey to be seamless and to travel trouble-free. So we have launched a technology solution for our members to assist their passengers when there is a disruption or irregularity that allows for a simpler re-booking process.”

Star has also launched a baggage hub system that enables bags to be monitored and tracked across alliance members.

Most significantly, Star is developing alliance digital platform that is now in the test phase. While details are not yet public, Goh gave an example to illustrate how this digital platform could improve customer service across the alliance. When passengers books an interline ticket across more than one airline today, they typically pre-select a seat on the first airline leg, but not on the second leg. The digital platform would enable pre-seat selections across all legs of Star carriers regardless of starting point.

Goh also said that the platform would yield an app that would not be Star branded, but which could be used by all member airlines to create their own super apps.

“As we move towards the digital phase of our alliance, this will be a very significant phase because it will put the experience of the customer into their fingertips,” Goh said.

Karen Walker karen.walker@penton.com

Daily News

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