China Southern Airlines (NYSE: ZNH) (HKSE: 1055), the largest airline in The People`s Republic of China for the past 23 years, has joined with China Mobile - one of the largest telecommunications companies in China - to develop an all new slate of customer service products.
The announcement was made in The Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
“This is a new day for everyone in China,” said Mr. Yan Zhi Qing, President of Southern Airlines Group & Chairman of China Southern Airlines Co Ltd., adding that “this new agreement will allow China Southern to tap into an incredibly huge marketplace. Essentially this deal will allow our airline customers to get free tickets by making phone call and receive extra mobile time by taking China Southern Airlines` flights.”
Within the next 30 days, cellular telephone customers using “off the shelf” standard cellular and WAP technology, will be able to check the status of their same day flight on China Southern Airlines, as well as making seat selections prior to arriving at the airport. The China Mobile/China Southern Airlines deal calls for:
á Frequent Flyer Cooperation. Members of China Southern Airlines` Sky Pearl Club `s can exchange their miles for China Mobile benefits - and China Mobile customers can enjoy flight miles rewards of China Southern Airlines. In addition, members of China Southern Airlines` Sky Pearl Frequent Flyer Club will be able to input their individual FFP mileage account number to their personal flight folio through this new China Mobil deal.
á Mobile ticketing. By using short messages and WAP communication offered by China Mobil, airline customers can check the dynamic flight information of China Southern Airlines and book and sale tickets.
á Mobile Call Centers. China Southern will China Mobile`s 1,258 call centers throughout the PRC. By utilizing the call center network, customers can buy tickets of CSN - any time - anywhere.
á Service and Support. Both organizations pledge to share the training resources and cooperate respectively.
As the leader in China`s mobile telecom industry, China Mobile has an outstanding business and telecom network across the PRC and more than 100 million customers. The commercial cellular telephone market in China is enormous. Since it can take up to several weeks to install “land lines” in private residences, tens of millions of Chinese citizens have opted out for cellular service.
By using the open, flexible and widespread mobile telecom and the resources of China Mobile, China southern Airlines plans to quickly expand its service network quickly at comparatively low cost.
As part of this new China Southern program, China Mobil will also be offering free Sky Pearl Club FFP memberships and bonus mileage incentives to its premium cellular telephone customers.
Yan alluded to the potential of tying his airline services to China`s massive, untapped mobile market, saying, “Because of this pact, cellular telephone customers will be able to make an airline reservation, select their seat, pay for the airline ticket through their secured credit card and literally move from curb to counter to cabin. What`s next? Why can`t that same passenger hook up their cell phone up to a computer printer and print out their own boarding pass and go right to the gate? This is future of true mobile technology in China ?Eoffering a full roster of services that cannot be available anywhere else; that meets the customer demand for efficiency and is a total turnkey business solution for our very valued corporate customers.”
He added, “The real challenge for our airline becomes how we effectively move people from the airport concourse into the aircraft as fast as possible and limit the time our customers have to spend in line at the airport counter. This agreement with China Mobil will help us begin to unlock this potential.”