CRM to drive region's aviation industry

Speakers at the ITP organised IT Dubai Air Show Forum have predicted that CRM will play an increasingly important role in the ongoing success of the region’s airlines.

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By  Matthew Southwell Published  November 3, 2001

According to the keynote speakers at the ITP organised IT Dubai Air Show Forum, customer relationship management (CRM) is playing an increasingly important role in the ongoing success of the region’s airlines, especially as the industry faces decreasing revenues in light of September 11.

By focusing on existing customers and delivering services that meet and exceed expectations, the speakers explained that the Middle East’s aviation operators will be able to ride out the tough times and excel when the market picks up.

HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Emirates & president of Dubai Civil Aviation, explained that those within the aviation industry that ignore IT do so at their peril.

“The aviation industry is very competitive [and] we are all suffering, but it is those that have invested in IT and automated their processes that are the ones that will succeed. CRM gets you a lot of business and, more importantly, it gets you repeat business,” he said.

Both Walid Asfour, chairman, Royal Jordanian Airlines and Fadi Saab, chairman & president, Trans Mediterranean Airways, echoed these sentiments. Saab detailed TMA’s information sharing initiatives while Asfour explained how RJA was undertaking a number of projects to improve customer relationships across the board, from passengers and agents to suppliers and aircraft vendors.

“In today’s industry the customer is again the focus due to the high levels of competition and market saturation. It is five times more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an old one so, with this in mind, RJA is undertaking a number of projects that focus on the customer,” said Asfour.

While the deployment of CRM technologies within the aviation industry may have some way to go, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum believes that superior customer service is the not too distant future. “The day when customers will be able to walk up to the [check-in] desk and book their favourite seat and movies is not too far away,” he predicted.

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