One could safely say that unbundling was the focus of last week’s CAPA Airlines in Transition Summit. Enter extra or no charges, new services, emerging markets, legacy airlines vs low-cost carriers, the environmental impact of flying, upgrading airlines’ back-end systems in tune with front-end operations, business class vs economy class and meeting the customer’s growing needs, and you have the packed agenda of the CAPA Summit which took place in Dublin last week.
So what’s the disruption all about? Well airline experts and executives, aviation association chiefs, services providers and distributors, technology insiders and environmentalists brought their know-how to the conference, which aims among others to keep abreast of the latest developments in the field, and basically agreed that we are now in the era of unbundling or simply put: in the process of dismantling the package deal and offering parts of it depending on individual needs at a friendlier price. And all this, thanks to the advent of technology and the ease of smart phones, iPads, Internet connectivity, consumer web technologies, social media and information access.
Whether it’s an airline keeping its core business and selling off the subsidiaries or ancillaries and services being handed over to distributors, unbundling is finally here in practice.
In the meantime, after decades of isolation Iran is emerging as a major market, with companies now shifting their interest Eastwards, where most of the orders for new planes are being made.
A major issue at hand is dealing with airline employees and unions, with many at the summit naming outsourcing as the next step or better yet bringing employees into the game with profit sharing.
Meanwhile, services providers are keen on getting customers as profiled as possible in order to identify their every need and then provide the technology to meet that need. In the process, they’re calling for the unification of all channels and parties involved.
The idea is to move into a new generation of pricing, which can be achieved according to the summit findings, by enhancing ancillaries, introducing new products, doing away with outdated modes of operation and tapping into a market that is changing radically by the day.