A look at the evolution of airline merchandising

Ben Hunt

Group Communications Director, Amadeus IT Group

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The commoditization question is one that has taxed airlines for the last dozen years or more as the industry landscape shifted as a result of new business models, changing traveler behavior, economic recession as well as both man-made and natural incidents that have had a profound influence.


When IATA brings together its member airlines, technology providers, travel agents and others at its annual World Passenger Symposium in San Diegonext week, it is asking the assembled to answer the following question – 100 Years of Aviation: From Exclusivity to Commodity, Is Flying Still Glamorous?

One feature of IATA‘s recent conferencesis Tony Tyler, Director General and CEO of IATA, delivering the latest on the profit per passenger the industry makes. In June, at the organization’s AGM, this figure was $6 per passenger, prompting Tyler to add: “As a global industry, our financial performance does not yet match the value that we deliver.”

Driving new revenues into the industry is therefore a priority, with much attention paid to “merchandising” and its potential to add the sale of additional products and services to passengers.

To help inform the debate and discussion around merchandising, Amadeus commissioned Martin Cowen, a respected and experienced travel journalist, to provide some context to the evolution of airline merchandising.

The result is an informative and entertaining paper that you can download here.

Amadeus looks forward to making further contributions to the debate on the future development of merchandising at WPS next week, and our news and views from the Symposium will be posted on this blog.


Merchandising, Events