Cathay Pacific Airways will invest over HK$2 billion on a range of e-Business projects over the next three years as part of its aim to become Asia`s leading e-Business airline. The investment is on more than 30 projects, many of which will be launched over the next six months. They include a range of initiatives to enhance customer convenience and increase efficiency. The projects include a new flagship Website, a cargo Website, online travel exchange, and e-Marketplace.
Cathay Pacific has set up a dedicated e-Business Programme Office to direct its e-Business efforts. The team includes a number of the airline`s most senior managers and has now been in place for almost a year. There will soon be more than 150 people working on the airline`s various e-Business projects.
The airline expects its e-Business projects to help substantially increase revenue and deliver significant cost savings. The airline believes 25% to 30% of ticket sales will take place online by 2005, in line with industry predictions. e-Business is expected to help reduce total expenditure by more than HK$500 million a year by 2003. Much of the savings will come from online purchasing, including a substantial reduction in inventory carrying costs.
Cathay Pacific`s Director and Chief Operating Officer Philip Chen said: “We are serious about becoming the leading e-Business airline in Asia and we are well on the way to making e-Business an integral part of all our operations. e-Business is enabling us to give our customers greater ease and convenience, work more efficiently with our partners, and enhance the position of Hong Kong as Asia`s leading aviation centre.”
The airline`s e-Business projects can be grouped in five areas: Passengers, Cargo, Procurement, CX team, and Future opportunities. The passenger area includes the relaunch of Cathay Pacific`s flagship Website www.cathaypacific.com. The Website contains some groundbreaking new features such as notiFLY, which alerts passengers on any changes to their flight status, as well as online mileage checking, real-time flight information and online booking. Content is now in eight different languages.
Other passenger projects include a range of new e-Service tools such as broadband access in airport lounges, wireless access at airport lounges and gates, and the introduction of email and Intranet on board Cathay Pacific`s aircraft. Work is also under way on other e-Service projects including many using mobile technology.
A number of the passenger projects also relate to travel agents, as agents handle many Cathay Pacific passenger bookings. These projects include a new Website for travel agents in key Asian markets giving exclusive access to Cathay Pacific`s products and fares information. Cathay Pacific is also helping launch the Travel Exchange Asia portal offering online ticket sales to travel agents and customers.
Cargo projects include a new cargo Website www.cathaypacificcargo.com which gives cargo shippers access to real-time information about cargo deliveries and online customs information. The site also has an improved online cargo tracking service and will soon have an online cargo booking feature.
As part of its procurement plans, Cathay Pacific is participating in the new Aeroxchange purchasing portal with 12 other airlines. Aeroxchange is an online marketplace allowing airlines to lower inventory and make joint purchases. Cathay Pacific is also participating in a number of other procurement ventures including Asia2B and MartPOWER. These projects will enable Cathay Pacific to carry out 35% to 50% of its purchasing over the Internet within the next three years.
In the CX Team category, Cathay Pacific is introducing a number of e-Business initiatives to help staff increase productivity, work smarter and acquire new skills. These include a state-of-the-art Intranet linking Cathay Pacific`s 13,000 staff in 179 cities. The airline is also undertaking a range of other staff projects including e-Learning. Additionally, Cathay Pacific is exploring a number of future opportunities to use e-Business, notably in the areas of wireless services, cargo and finance.
Cathay Pacific has already achieved a number of major achievements in the area of e-Business. The airline was the first in the world to announce plans to install inflight email, the first in Asia to provide WAP-based travel services, the first in the world to link its Airbus aircraft to its maintenance centres electronically, and the first in the world to auction air tickets online.
Cathay Pacific`s many e-Business projects mirror the aspirations of Hong Kong to utilise the Internet and take a leadership role in the use of new technology. Mr Chen said: “Hong Kong has long been known for its rapid adoption of new technologies. By implementing a range of new e-Business projects we aim to help contribute to that process and benefit the whole Hong Kong community.”