(Q BUSINESS) Latin American airlines are accelerating their digitization processes to reduce contact with passengers in various processes when traveling.
During a forum organized by the Air Transport Association of Latin America and the Caribbean (ALTA), representatives of Aeroméxico, Copa Airlines, Avianca, and Latam Airlines presented the digitization strategies that airlines are implementing to overcome the pandemic.
Andrés Castañeda, Head of Clients and Digital Officer of Aeroméxico, commented that during these last months of the pandemic, the airline noticed a 30% increase in the use of their application by passengers, since they want to have a travel experience with less contact with airport personnel, practically to “get out of the car and get on the plane without touching anything.”
The airline also relaxed its purchase policies so that if someone buys a ticket, but at the last minute does not feel comfortable to travel, they can change their trip to another date.
“Marketing budgets are now tighter so we have to make the (digital) channels more efficient to get these messages to customers,” he explained.
Adjusting to demand
For his part, Héctor Alvarado, director of Digital Solutions at GE Aviation, said that the digitization of airlines allows them to be more efficient, since they can adjust their fleet and routes based on expected demand.
Alvarado commented that in Latin America the digitization index is 45.5 points, while in Europe it is 66.4 and in North America it is 74.4, so the region has to make a significant effort to accelerate the use of digital tools.
Julio Toro, Information Manager for Copa Airlines, explained that before the pandemic, the airline’s digitization strategy focused on giving passengers greater autonomy so that they could move easily when traveling.
Now, after the airline was completely idle for five months, they are looking at what new technology initiatives they can use to jumpstart demand and support biosecurity measures.
ALTA added that in some domestic markets such as Brazil and Mexico an increase in the demand for air transport is already beginning to be noticed.
However, it will take five years for passenger traffic to return to pre-pandemic levels, and this 2020 alone will fall by 60% in Latin America and the Caribbean.