As a part of a roadmap it built a few years ago, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is making headway to catch up with the digital ancillary services market.
In Istanbul, on the sidelines of the Future Travel Experience, Osama Sheikh, project Manager-information and communication technology, whilst talking to the media, said,
We carry a huge legacy. PIA is one of the oldest airlines in the world’ and added that the airline had failed to follow digitalization “for many reasons: political or economic reasons, changes of strategic plans in terms of several management changes, etc.
PIA has to boost its services and hunt for market collaborates who can strengthen alongside the airline, “to provide the best customer experience and best technology,” he said.
The airline’s first ancillary business, launched earlier this year, was the sale of bulkhead seats. Sheikh said, “This is the very first move for us and we are getting a very good response from passengers”.
PIA is also aiming to slash costs and boost efficiency and profits. Sheikh said, “This is one side, we also have to work on the other side, like launching our new website and developing an app for passengers.”
He further added that not only hotel rooms will be offered as ancillary products but also things such as e-visas and medical services. He said, “Other big airlines that fly into Pakistan provide these ancillary services, so the market is there. But PIA is not capitalizing.”
Meanwhile, PIA has seen its online sales go from 2% to 25%
He said, “Our new management is very focused on the revival of the airline. We also have a plan to order new airplanes”.
The airline is focusing on other areas for digitalization such as MRO and paperless cockpits as well as contacting various partners about the possibility of new IFE and Wi-Fi systems.
Sheikh said, “I know the digitalization process for PIA will take some time, but we are on the right track”.