Featured | Jan 05,2019
September 14 , 2019
By SELAMAWIT MENGESAHA ( FORTUNE STAFF WRITER )
Ethiopian Airlines, the national air carrier, has added four of its services to the online system that integrates the immigration office and hotel services.
Developed and customised by 10 staff members from the Airline's IT department, the applications integrate the Immigration, Nationality & Vital Events Agency and over 50 hotels with the Airline. The apps provide services like booking, ticketing, check-in and flight status using 11 different languages, including Japanese and Arabic, which are both new additions.
Launched on September 11, 2019, Alipay Mobile Wallet; flight tracking, which notifies flight lift-off and landing destinations; online booking; ticketing and baggage check-in service; and Feel Addis, a digital transit package, are the new online services launched by the Airline.
Feel Addis is a digital transit package that provides information about hotel accommodations and transit visa services.
Feel Addis transit service offers solutions to pre-flight requirements of customers. The package provides services such as personal assistance for connecting flights, visa and passport processing, porter service during baggage claim, hotel information where passengers can enjoy complimentary snacks and beverages and shuttle services to departure gates.
The application saves transit time for customers, who often spend eight to 24 hours in transit, according to Miretab Teklay, digital director at Ethiopian, 70pc of whose customers are transit passengers.
The digital service, which is available as a mobile application, sends a reservation code containing hotel and visa information when customers check in. The immigration office gets all the information about the customers as soon as their registration bar code is scanned.
"Passengers using Feel Addis will have ample time to take a tour around Addis during their transit time," Miretab said.
Ethiopian launched online ticketing in January 2018, and currently, 30pc of tickets are sold through the online application. The application, through its services, generated 84 million dollars by selling online tickets all over the world, 30 million dollars of which is generated from tickets sold in Ethiopia.
The application currently has 240,000 users in Ethiopia and over 800,000 worldwide. Online sales through credit or debit cards and Sheba Miles are also additional options for passengers to enjoy the service provided by the airline. In 2017, Ethiopian signed a seven-year contract agreement with the technology provider, Sabre Corporation, to upgrade its booking system at a cost of 62.5 million dollars.
Ethiopian Airlines has been working with Sabre since 2005, which is the sole provider of the passenger reservation system.
The company, which digitalised its transit services package through the new service, also added Wi-Fi service on its Airbus A350 last week to allow passengers to have in-flight connectivity using smartphones, tablets and laptops.
Passengers can access the in-flight connectivity service by purchasing vouchers at Ethiopian Airlines sales outlets including at Addis Abeba International Airport's customer service desk, boarding gate or from the cabin crew.
Ethiopian Airlines' profit increased by 19pc to 232 million dollars in the 2017/18 fiscal year, and the airline transported 340,000tn through its cargo services. The company has more than 100 international destinations, 19 domestic routes and 39 freighters.
Since online transit packages are common at other international airline services, Ethiopian should develop more online applications, according to Natnael Tesfaye, a software developer.
"Each of the online services developed by the airline makes life easy for the customers and develops their awareness of online services," Natnael said.
PUBLISHED ON Sep 14,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 1011]
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