DOTCOMCOM LIFT-OFF FOR AIRLINE INDUSTRY
THE AIRLINE INDUSTRY and online transactions go hand in glove, which is illustrated in the SA context by the success of Kulula.com, South African Airways (SAA), Nationwide and 1time.
Although revised figures to be released this first quarter are likely to show 50% growth, the airlines between them accounted for about R1,8bn in ecommerce, easily dwarfing figures for conventional online retail.
Boosted by its irreverent marketing campaigns, Kulula.com has been the single biggest success story of e-commerce in SA. The low-cost carrier was the first local airline to record R1bn in sales in a single year.
World Wide Worx managing execu- tive Arthur Goldstuck partly attributes the global airline industry’s e-commerce success to its watchdog, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which has unwaveringly campaigned to simplify air travel.
“IATA’s hardnosed campaign to push the global airline industry to comply with its ideals of online ticketing has largely contributed to this success.” He says e-commerce is ideally suited to this kind of industry.
The airlines have only their tickets to manage and don’t have to deliver a physical product to their customers. Also, says Goldstuck, their websites are user friendly, providing simple guidance on how to log on, make a booking and pay for it. That, he says, is crucial to gaining mass appeal. Given the current trends, air travel will continue to dominate consumer e-commerce for at least the next five to 10 years, says Goldstuck. ¤