Air Seychelles moves to SabreSonic: national airline aims to enhance guest experience and revenue with new technology
Air Seychelles Chief Executive Roy Kinnear (left) and Shane Batt, the Senior Vice President, Strategic Clients, of the Texas-based travel technology company, Sabre Corporation, signing the agreement on Friday. (Patrick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The Seychelles national airline has announced impending plans to move to a new technology platform, in a bid to improve its day-to -day operations and guest experience.
This is a tool used by hundreds of airlines worldwide for passenger reservation, airport check-in and boarding systems, among other functions.
Air Seychelles’ Chief Executive Roy Kinnear and Shane Batt, the Senior Vice President, Strategic Clients, of the Texas-based travel technology company, Sabre Corporation, signed the agreement on Friday evening.
In an interview with the local press, Kinnear described the step being taken by the airline, as one which is essential for the company, as it works to bring in more tourists to the Indian Ocean archipelago which involves working with several partner airlines around the world.
The new system is expected to make available complete information on guests' bookings at each touch point in their journey.
“There’s nothing worse than a guest being irritated at the checking desk when they think they are travelling from Seychelles to a particular point and onwards to someplace else and be only fulfilled with half their transactions. The objective of this is to lift the technology platforms to make the guest’s experience much smoother. That is the primary objective in all of this,” said Kinnear.
“The technology platform also offers us the opportunity to improve our revenue performance as well.”
Air Seychelles serves regional destinations of South Africa, Madagascar, Mauritius, Tanzania and the Etihad hub of Abu Dhabi, as well as destinations further afield such as Paris, and Mumbai.
The national airline also codeshares on international flights operated by several partner airlines such as its strategic partner Etihad Airways, Airberlin, Alitalia and Jet Airways, some of which are already using the same tool for their day-to-day operations.
This means Air Seychelles will be operating on a common platform.
According to Shane Batt, the Senior Vice President, Strategic Clients of Sabre Corporation this will also allow the national airline to be more competitive alongside some of the world’s largest carriers, which are already using such tools.
For Air Seychelles customers, guests will also be able to use their smartphones to book flights and manage their itineraries for both domestic and international flights.
“There’s functionality that you don’t have today that will be easily implemented…for example, today you cannot do an automated responses and refund. So if you had to do a ticket change it’s a long process and your guests have to go to an office, whereas with our system they can do it online.”
With March 2016 as the go-live implementation date, Air Seychelles is planning to have the necessary means in place starting next week including some an initial number of 70 staff, who will be trained to implement and make use of the new technology.
“This is about creating a more efficient platform to allow us to grow with the business. It will not in any way mean we have to retrench or reduce our existing numbers of staff….Existing headcount remains as it is as we grow as a business we will grow in head count as well. It does mean though that we are more efficient growing our headcount and it frees up more time for focus on guests.”
The Chairman of Air Seychelles, Joel Morgan, who is also the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Transport said in a statement that “the decision to implement the SabreSonic is in line with the five-year business plan" of the airline.
Air Seychelles was wholly-owned by the Seychelles government since its establishment in 1978. UAE's Etihad Airways bought a 40 percent share in the airline in 2012 investing $45 million with the aim of turning the company around after several years of significant losses.