Home' Asian Aviation : AAV February 2016 Contents 72 AsianAviation | FEBRUARY 2016
t used to be enough for a low-cost carrier to offer
the lowest fares, but now the customer is seeking
an experience and LCCs have had to adapt to
this, Barathan Pasupathi, chief executive officer of
Jetstar Asia, told delegates at the recent Future Travel
Experience Asia Expo, which took place in Singapore
late last year.
The traditional LCC model is not sufficient in
today’s world and is continually evolving, he says.
“We can reinvent ourselves as we don’t have the
baggage of the legacy carriers,” he says. As a result,
three years ago, Jetstar Asia changed its approach
to the customer, delivering an improved customer
experience which in turn has delivered better returns,
according to Pasupathi.
“It used to be enough for LCCs to offer the
lowest fares, but now the customer is seeking an
experience and that is at the heart of our business,”
he says. Customers today are requiring a different
type of journey, with today’s “me, me, me generation”
loving to digitally connect. “You have to change the
way you approach these customers — they want to
communicate and transact,” he says. They are also the
most open-minded generation ever to travel, he adds.
An airline’s ability to adapt and evolve to the
changing customer is key to its success, says
Over the last 10 years, Jetstar Asia has experimented
with a lot of different technology to improve the
customer experience and deliver efficiencies. This
has been done through collaboration with airport and
vendor partners, he says. “It has been trial and error
to get where we are today,” he concedes.
He points, for example, to the airline’s use of self-
service kiosks and bag drop at Singapore Changi
Airport. When the airline first introduced self-service it
had to work to overcome the Asian mind-set favouring
face-to-face customer service over self-service. “It
has been a journey for us,” he says, involving a huge
marketing programme with Changi. The airline chose
one day of the week — “Fast Tuesdays”, for example
when all of the check-in counters were switched
off, forcing passengers to use the self-serve kiosks.
The result is a kiosk/bag-drop penetration of 48-51%
today, says Pasupathi, adding that it has taken the
airline 18 months to get there.
Jetstar Asia is looking at Jetstar’s experience at its
new domestic home at Melbourne Airport’s Terminal
4, particularly as it looks ahead to Changi’s new
Terminal 4, which will open in 2017-18 and which
will be “a phenomenal experience”, according to
Pasupathi. Melbourne’s T4 has achieved 100% self-
service for domestic operations, is a fully integrated
terminal with a dedicated transportation hub and “the
customers love it”.
As well as self-service, Jetstar Asia is looking at
smart retailing on its website, moving to the likes
of Google or Amazon where you have a shopping
cart experience. Buying the ticket is just the first
touchpoint with the customer, he says, with the
website supporting the whole travel journey and
experience. Jetstar Asia can already claim a number
of firsts with its website, he says, pointing to its
interactive capability through its Ask Jess function,
enabling customers to get immediate information.
Jetstar Asia’s adaptation of the LCC model has
also seen it establish relationships with full-service
carriers — including parent Qantas, its partner
Emirates, Japan Airlines and China Eastern, as well
as European carriers.
Jetstar Asia’s use of new technology will not
extend onboard in the form of in-flight connectivity
or not for the immediate future, he says. Jetstar
Asia has made a deliberate call on not offering
IFE or connectivity on its narrowbody operations
at this stage, he says. While a lot of LCCs have
experimented with IFE, in the form of iPads, for
example, Jetstar Asia experimented with it but it
didn’t prove successful as most of its customers are
bringing onboard their own iPads. To offer IFE at the
right price is a challenge for a carrier like Jetstar Asia,
he says. Meanwhile, the airline has studied satellite
technology, but “this is for another day when the
technology is more cost-effective,” he adds.
Meanwhile, wearable technology is “an interesting
space”, he believes, adding that the airline is
watching the space carefully.
Jetstar Asia’s adaptability and new-found
appreciation of the customer and his or her wants
appears to be paying off, with Pasupathi noting
that business travellers are switching to LCCs like
Jetstar Asia and its customers are ranking the airline
alongside full-service narrowbody operators. ✈
Low-cost carrier Jetstar Asia has had to become more customer focused and it appears
to be paying off, Emma Kelly reports.
Jetstar Asia adapts
to the customer
“It used to be enough for LCCs to offer
the lowest fares, but now the customer
is seeking an experience and that is at
the heart of our business.”
chief executive officer, Jetstar Asia
Jetstar Asia has been able to reinvent itself as it doesn’t have
the baggage of legacy carriers, says CEO Barathan Pasupathi.
8/02/2016 12:07:33 PM
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