Air New Zealand wants to lead the digital revolution

Air New Zealand chief revenue officer Cam Wallace, delivered a thought provoking key note speech at the CAPA-ACTE New Zealand Aviation and Corporate Travel Summit recently in Auckland. Mr Wallace focussed on key priorities of the airline, recent results and plans for the future, and especially highlighted the oncoming “digital revolution”.

Air New Zealand “wants to create a future where we are at the front of digital revolution,” confirmed the airline’s CRO. Currently, the carrier is focused on four main digital innovations, including: Chip, the robot personal assistant, in collaboration with Commonwealth Bank of Australia; HoloLens, a personalised tool for crew to assist with traveller personal preferences; Oscar, an AI bot recently launched and receiving about 1000 requests per day; and further personalisation of IFE.

The Blue Swan Daily was in attendance on the day and even caught up with Mr Wallace on the side lines of the event to bring you an exclusive interview.

Key highlights from the speech:

  • The discussion concerning LCCs over the past 15 years has shifted from “whether the low cost carrier model would be viable”, to whether the model is viable for low cost long haul (LCLH). Mr Wallace confirmed the carrier was “looking at Norwegian’s model” and is preparing a competitive response should a LHLC carrier came to New Zealand.
  • Emirates’ decision to cease operating on the trans Tasman route is a “smart decision”. Mr Wallace added Air New Zealand “will look at capacity options on the three markets, Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, which has previously been over supplied”. When commenting on the impact this will have on fares, Mr Wallace continued: “Due to the over supply, there will be no impact to fares. What impacts fares is the high taxes associated with trans Tasman travel”.
  • On the carrier’s new Boeing787-9 aircraft, he stated: “It is not sustainable for us to do beyond point to point travel. Our new aircraft will allow us to continue this and focus on single flight routes”.
  • “More and more unbundling of fares is occurring around the world. There hasn’t really been an airline that has unbundled their product and it hasn’t been successful. It always results in profit”. Mr Wallace confirmed Air New Zealand is investigating further opportunities for more unbundling to meet passenger needs.
  • Commenting on the carrier’s South America routes: “Our business to Argentinais going better than ever anticipated. Australians form a large portion of travellers on this route”. Regarding future growth in South America, Mr Wallace commented: “At the moment our focus is frequency into Argentina, not route development”.
  • Air New Zealand is investing in technology to maximise seat revenue. Products such as Travelflex are being implemented into the Air New Zealand business, however Mr Wallace cautioned about over exposure to these products and ensured the carrier would only invest in those which “bring benefit” to customers.

 

To hear directly from Mr Wallace, watch our exclusive interview below: