Renewing and expanding an existing tech partnership is their way of improving organically to boost operations and customer service levels.

As airlines around the world pray for pandemic restrictions to lift, they are in the heat of figuring out how to remodel and rebuild to remain relevant in the battered travel landscape that may never be the same again.

Digitalization, sustainability, innovation and customer-experience issues weigh heavily on the business leaders involved in charting new survival and business recovery plans for their airlines. Investments in innovation and technology — such as touchless biometrics, self-service and apps — are expected to help propel and lead the industry’s recovery.

In South Korea, one of the most digitally-connected populations in Asia, national carrier Korean Air has taken baby steps towards better prospects by redesigning its website and mobile platform. This is part of its renewal of an agreement with a technology partner for the Amadeus Airline Platform that it uses for operations. The latter is an open platform that simplifies and streamlines—removing complexity for airlines so they can focus on managing and growing their business, innovating, and delivering personalized traveler experiences.

The platform has several layers, one of which is Digital Experience Suite, which gives airlines more flexibility to work with third-party partners and developers, in order to fast-track innovation. Day-to-day operations can be made more agile, allowing operators such as Korean Air to integrate technologies and services from various partners and developers.

Simpler, easier, better CX

The Digital Experience Suite component will allow Korean Air to customize its website to provide customers with a simpler and more interactive interface, hiding the weave of complex business solutions needed to provide a seamless customer experience. For example, the airline can create a shopping cart with the removal of session constraints; this allows customers to retain their history of selected flights and avoid having to restart and pick an itinerary from scratch. Result: a smoother retail customer experience (CX).

Said Kenneth Chang, Executive Vice President and CMO, Korean Air: “In these unprecedented times… Korean Air is focused on accelerating our goal of digital transformation, with the full commitment of our leadership team. By leveraging our partnership with Amadeus, we can streamline our operations and reach that goal faster. This will take Korean Air to a next level of international growth, enhancing forward thinking to deliver the ultimate customer experience.”

The airline has also decided to renew its agreement for the Altea Passenger Service System. By combining DES with existing Altéa technology, the airline aims to boost its retailing capabilities further through more-personalized offers and improve back-end efficiency. The renewal of the Passenger Service System (PSS) agreement will provide Korean Air with closely-integrated passenger data and the ability to deliver a more consistent service across all customer touchpoints. Altéa technology will also help Korean Air drive up revenue through multiple sales channels offered by the Altéa Suite.

Clouds driving multi-industry symbiosis
According to Cyril Tetaz, Executive Vice President, Airlines, Asia Pacific, Amadeus: “We are very pleased to reaffirm our partnership with Korean Air and support (them) in innovating, collaborating and experimenting to create new products which will add value and create personalized retail experiences for its passengers.” The travel technology firm was recognized in 2019 as a top employer in Bangkok and Sydney operations.

In the meantime, industry polls have indicated that any aviation rebound may take up to three years to reach a level remotely similar to that of pre-COVID-19 days. In the lead-up to recovery, airline CIOs need to consider how data and personalization can be used to drive transformation and repel fierce competition. Even innovations in e-payment and e-commerce and hospitality solutions are set to pave the way for quicker air travel recovery, as are regional governments anxious to restore tourism income streams.

It certain looks like blue skies ahead, with cloud technologies driving airline innovation, agility and integration with the e-payments, tourism and MICE industries to beat the three-year recovery forecast!