In the news: AirAsia India set to fly, faster check-in at Changi Airport, new website and IBE for Warwick hotels, IHG launches 3D Connected Traveller Series
AirAsia India finally takes flight after months of bureaucratic delays
After much speculation and delays the news of low cost carrier AirAsia India’s launch was announced by a happy Tan Sri Tony Fernandes. AirAsia group chief executive officer, on Twitter: “Very very proud to announce AirAsia India open for sale tomorrow (30 May). Wow. First flight June 12th. See you all In India on the 12th.”
The airline will launch its maiden flight from India’s silicon city, Bangalore, to Goa, famed as tourist destination for its beaches and as a party hub, on that day.
Apart from the daily Bangalore-Goa-Bangalore service, the airline will also mount two daily flights on the Chennai-Bangalore-Chennai route in its initial operations.
The LCC offered an irresistible all-inclusive fare of Rs990 (US$17) for its maiden Bangalore-Goa flight route, and it was thus not surprising that the tickets were sold out within 10 minutes of opening for sale on 30 May, according to media reports. Its 25,000 promotion seats were also taken up within 48 hours of opening for booking on the same day.
“We are very excited by the feedback we received from the market. Our motto has always been to make everyone fly and we have already begun to show that we are true to our promise,” said AirAsia India chief executive officer, Mittu Chandilya (pictured above left), in a statement.
He reiterated the airlines’ aim to revolutionise the Indian aviation industry with its quality service.
Chandilya was also quoted in the media as saying that the airline’s goal is to provide every Indian an opportunity by making fares at least 35% cheaper than current market levels offered by other airlines.
This move has prompted some industry watchers to forecast the price war among Indian airlines to intensify in the days ahead. LCCs currently operating in India include IndiGo, SpiceJet, JetKonnect and GoAir.
AirAsia India is operating with one Airbus A320 aircraft. It plans to connect 10 cities with 10 aircraft by the end of this financial year.
The airline is a joint venture between AirAsia, India’s Tata Sons and Arun Bhatia’s Telestra Tradeplace. It received a flying licence from the country’s aviation regulator, Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), on 7 May after almost nine months of bureaucratic delay.
Fast track check-in at Changi Airport
Singapore’s Changi Airport Group (CAG) ramps up check-in service with a phased implementation of self-service initiatives in Changi Airport’s departure halls, with Jetstar Asia as its trail airline partner.
With these initiatives passengers departing from Changi Airport can experience a speedier and more flexible check-in experience.
This is part of the Fast and Seamless Travel at Changi (FAST@Changi) programme, which CAG plans to roll out progressively at Changi Airport, including in the new Terminal 4.
The on-going trial includes a number of self-service functions – check-in, bag tagging and bag drop – will run for about three months until this August.
Two self bag-drop units and four self check-in kiosks have been fitted alongside the Jetstar check-in counters in Terminal 1. Passengers on selected Jetstar flights, who opt to use these self-service options can print their boarding pass and baggage tag after checking in. They can drop the baggage off at the self bag-drop counter, and a receipt is provided for them.
There are instructional videos and signs to guide passengers, and on-ground staff is also present to provide assistance. Since the trial started earlier this month, about 1,000 passengers have used the FAST facilities.
“The implementation of FAST@Changi is in line with a wider global push towards increasing automation at airports to improve producitivity and efficiency, while providing passengers with greater flexibility and convenience,” said Tan Lye Teck, executive vice president of airport management at CAG.
He expects more airlines to come onboard the FAST programme.
Warwick hotels design new website, partners with Trust for its IBE
Warwick International Hotels (WIH), a collection of iconic, upscale hotels and resorts, has redesigned its website featuring a fresh platform that allows users to browse its portfolio of more than 55 hotels worldwide and book trips easily with just a few clicks.
Guests will find the redesigned site easy to navigage as it has categorised hotels, resorts and spas by destination and has larger images. It also enables them to manage their reservations, communicate preferences and receive exclusive offers through the WIH member portal. An attractions map and cultural calendar showcases local happenings for each property, so guests can plan their itineraries easily before arrival.
Alan Gonzalez, WIH’s director of e-Commerce and distribution. said, “Consumers today are using their smartphones and tablets to make travel decisions.Our enhanced website provides users with seamless mobile or desktop access to explore each of our hotels and resorts and its local culture and manage their visit all in one place.”
In a related development, WIH now uses Trust International for its Internet booking engine (IBE), GDS distribution and call centre.
Some features of the hotels’ new IBE include:
Compatible to all known major Internet browsers
Fast system response time
Same rates and availabilities featured (real-time) as calling the hotel, and clear display of rates and packages with details on non-availability or restrictions if all rates loaded (strike through features, rooms left feature)
Lowest rate availability calendar, so the guest can see details of actual rate
restrictions and/or on specific rates only (if set up).
Multiple Languages available.
Multiple room bookings into one reservation record.
Room upgrade option available.
IHG explores changing needs of future travellers with 3D Connected Traveller Series
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has launched its 3D Connected Traveller Series, which delves into the idea of 3D brands and delivers insights into the 21st century traveller with interactive events taking place in New York, Dubai and China.
The events are designed to bring to life the themes of its latest trends report, “The key to building successful brand relationships in the Kinship Economy” (download report).
According to the report, to win guest loyalty in the future hotels need to deliver a global, local and personalised experience. The collision of these three dimensions, accelerated by the rapid rise of technology-enabled personalisation in recent years, is changing the experience guests expect when they travel.
Hotel brands that are able to become truly “3D” – by delivering localised and personalised experiences through trusted global brands – will build the trust that is needed to sustain lasting relationships with guests and outperform in the future, the report added..
The three 3D events are:
• Travel Well: Held in New York City on 4 June. It focused wellness to the 21st century traveller, as well introduced IHG’s revolutionary EVENT Hotel. This is a new hotel brand created with wellness at its core to meet the large and growing demand for a hotel brand to help wellness-minded travellers keep their balance on the road.
• Global Appetite, Local Taste: Dubai on 16 June. It will be held at Reflets Par Pierre Gagnaire, the restaurant of three Michelin-starred chef Pierre Gagnaire, at InterContinental® Dubai – Festival City. It will explore the consumer demand for authentic local customisation of foods and how to deliver this on a global scale.
• The Customised Future: China in late 2014. It will provide insight into the 21st century Chinese traveller. A panel will discuss the “customised future” and draw on the insight and experience that IHG has gained through 30 years of operating in the region. It will focus on bringing to life the four priorities of the modern Chinese traveller – tradition, rejuvenation, status recognition and enabling space.
Karin Sheppard, chief commercial officer, Asia, Middle East and Africa, IHG said, “This series of innovative events will explore a key truth about global travellers today: that most want authentic and exciting experiences, as well as the comforts of home, wherever in the world they are. They expect global brands to be able to deliver this with consistency.”
The Wrap: AirAsia India finally takes flight after months of bureaucratic delays