Airlines must embrace alternative payment systems, Amadeus conference told

Airlines must embrace alternative payment systems such as PayPal to maximise future online sales, according to a senior executive from global technology firm Amadeus.

Celia Pereiro, the company’s head of payments, said there had been 50% growth in bookings paid for by alternative payments methods since 2012.

Speaking to airline delegates at the Amadeus Airline Digital conference in Madrid, she said airlines looking to grow globally had to service locally.

“This is especially true of payments,” she said.

“Using anything like PayPal allows certain customer segments to buy your products.”

Pereiro also urged airlines to embrace technology enabling currency conversion at the point of payment.

She said this service was usually provided by the card holder’s bank and that airlines were missing out on a revenue stream.

“It’s your customer, so you as the merchant have an opportunity. One of our airline customers told me it was like getting free money.”

Finally, delegates were told that using the right technology would also mitigate their vulnerability to fraud.

“Managing fraud is not only about stopping leakage, it’s about your share [of bookings]. Airlines today are losing 2% of their online sales because of fraud.”

Pereiro said revamping a payment strategy and implementing the right technology increases revenue and improves the customer experience.

She said the size of the opportunity varied from market to market, but on average an airline could expect to earn an extra $6 per ticket.

Pereiro said Amadeus had 285 airline customers using its payment technology.

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