Star Alliance is aiming to improve its passenger services with a major new multi-million dollar investment in new technology projects.
The new initiatives include a new Alliance IT hub for baggage, which aimed at streamlining the baggage delivery process, and the development of standardised processes for automated check-in and baggage drop facilities.
“Serving our customers with high standards, consistently, on a global scale has always been at the centre of our alliance strategy,” said Calin Rovinescu, chair of the Star Alliance chief executive board.
“With today’s decisions, we are clearing the way to better align our industry’s complex back-end systems with the rapidly changing demands of our customers. Global trends such as personalisation and digitalisation of products and services must trigger a mind-set shift in our industry and we aim to be at the forefront of that evolution,” he added.
The new IT hub for baggage is scheduled to launch by the end of 2016. It will become the latest in a series of apps the alliance has developed to support its airlines, including those for sharing frequent flyer data and check-in information for passengers and baggage.
Baggage data is currently spread across several different areas, including airlines’ and airports’ own systems. The new Alliance IT hub will centralise this data, with the aim of making it easier to track and locate baggage.
“While mishandling a bag is a relatively rare case in our alliance, despite the fact that we carry almost 1.7 million passengers every day, when things do go wrong it is highly annoying to any customer affected,” said Mark Schwab, CEO of Star Alliance.
“We believe modern technology can be of tremendous assistance in significantly reducing the number of baggage issues and providing faster and more accurate information for our customer service agents. As ever, our ultimate goal is to provide the best possible service to our travellers.”
Star Alliance is also planning to standardise processes for off-airport and self-service check-ins, for fast baggage drop technology at airports, self-tagging of baggage, and for automated travel document validation.
“This initiative represents another industry first and is created in full support of the ‘IATA Fast Travel’ mandate,” Schwab said. “As we represent around one quarter of the world’s scheduled airline services, we believe we can contribute to the reduction of operating complexities. Our member airlines have benefited significantly from standardisation in other areas and are determined to drive this process forward now, together with airports and system providers.”
The new initiatives were ratified at the Star Alliance annual summer meeting, which is taking place in Zurich.