We’re creating a more connected travel industry, underpinned by sustainability and long-term investor relations.
As with so many other things in the travel industry, that is about to change, as the evolution of Travel IT will allow travelers to become “self-connectors”, avoiding the constraints of the big, traditional airline alliances.
For years, the great divide between low-cost carriers and legacy airlines – apart from the prices – was whether they aimed at just point-to-point flights, or if they operated a network which would allow the traveler to connect flights. These connections were always within the confines of an airline’s very own flights – or another carrier in its alliance.
That was the main conclusion that came out from a session in the CAPA Airlines in Transition 2014 event: Redefining airport hubs. Connectivity: the next vital piece in the industry’s advancement.
Timothy O’Neill-Dunne, Managing Partner of T2Impact , explained that the bigger technological capabilities of metasearch websites are “unearthing hidden connections”, in many cases by mixing low cost, point-to-point, short-range flights with longer-range flights operated by full-service carriers. “The final customers are now able to find out about these connections in a metasearch, and it is the responsibility of the industry to help them be able to get them”, O’Neill-Dune said.
But this new-gen connectivity is not only about having two flights scheduled close enough for them to be a time and cost effective alternative to the legacy airlines networks. There is a lot of work behind the scenes to make them possible that was usually taken care of by the big, traditional airline alliances. Giulio De Metrio, COO of SEA Milan Airports, was clear when offering a solution: “Leave that to us, the airports”.
De Metrio argued that airports nowadays have the ability to provide airlines – and through them to travelers – with those connections: “The most important item is of course the bag-handling system”. If the IT systems that allow for it are in place, De Metrio said, “airlines just need to cooperate in coordinating their scheduling and being disciplined”, without the need for tight, inflexible alliances to be in place.