|MERCATOR HELPS SRILANKAN AIRLINES BUSINESS TO PROSPER WITH REVENUE INTEGRITY SYSTEM THAT GENERATED MORE THAN US$11M DURING FIRST FOUR MONTHS OF USE
DUBAI, U.A.E., 28 February 2011 - Applause! Applause! The accolades keep coming in for SriLankan Airlines Limited. Last December, the carrier featuring a stylized peacock in its logo was the proud winner of the United States EFFIE award for travel and tourism for its hot-seat marketing campaign. The campaign offered Sri Lankans and friends traveling to and from Sri Lanka the best fares for travel on designated tickets purchased in advance.
In addition to its EFFIE award, SriLankan Airlines has in recent months won a series of international and national awards in fields ranging from passenger transport to marketing and internet technology.
The awards are remarkable considering that its home country has recently emerged from a 26-year-long civil war that ended in 2009. Sri Lanka has suffered a SARS epidemic, survived a terrorist attack at its international airline hub and recovered from the 2004 Indian Earthquake that produced a devastating tsunami. It claimed thousands of lives and is one of the 10-worst earthquakes in recorded history.
Despite these overwhelming tragedies, Sri Lanka's economy is expected to grow 9 percent this year - rates usually seen in China. The recovery can be attributed to Sri Lanka's legendary beauty, fragrant spices, precious gems, rare pearls, sublime culture and hospitable people, all of which attract tourists from around the globe.
Sri Lanka is called the Pearl of the Indian Ocean because of its position at the southern tip of the Indian subcontinent. For more than a thousand years, travelers from around the world came upon Sri Lanka or made the happy discovery by accident. Thus, this Island Paradise was also called SERENDIP, giving rise to the word "serendipity," meaning "making happy discoveries by accident."
Six hundred thousand visitors went to Sri Lanka in 2010 with 750,000 visitors expected in 2011. The Sri Lankan government has declared a target of 2.5 million tourists annually through 2016.
To prepare for the influx of tourists during the next few years, the tear-dropped shaped island off the southern coast of India is transforming Sri Lanka into a hub for aviation in the region. Colombo-Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) is the only international airport located in Sri Lanka.
It's already the finest airport in the region with its modern aerobridges, plush lounges and well-stocked duty-free collection. Even so, it is presently in the middle of a major program to expand and upgrade its facilities. A second international airport is now under construction at Mattala in the southern Hambantota District. It is scheduled to be commissioned in 2012.
Spanning Out SriLankan Airlines, formerly known as Air Lanka, was set up by the government of Sri Lanka in July 1979 following the closure of Air Ceylon in 1978.
As the country's flagship carrier, SriLankan Airlines is crucial to the country's tourism goals. Shortly after its management changed hands, the carrier began a re-fleeting program in April 2008. It acquired three Airbus A320s in 2008 and 2009 to replace old aircraft.
Sri Lankan Airlines expects the delivery of seven new aircraft by the end of 2011. They include five Airbus A320s and two Twin Otter float planes for the re-launch of its domestic service "SriLankan Air Taxi" this winter.
"The three brand-new aircraft are scheduled to be acquired from May-November 2011, and will sport the latest comforts and entertainment systems, including Audio-Video On Demand (AVOD) in both Business and Economy Classes," SriLankan Airlines Chief Executive Officer Manoj Gunawardena told reporters. "This will allow us to significantly enhance passenger service and give us the ability to fly to more cities in the Subcontinent, Middle East and Southeast Asia, and to also increase capacity to existing destinations in these regions."
The airline is also exploring the possibility of obtaining at least one more long-haul, wide-body aircraft to launch services to more new destinations in Europe and the Far East, Gunawardena said.
In addition to increasing its fleet and destinations, SriLankan Airlines made significant investments in technology. Last year, the carrier contracted with Calidris (since acquired by Sabre Airlines Solutions) via a partnership with Mercator for its Jupiter product, a hosted end-to-end passenger services solution with a fully integrated real-time revenue integrity system.
As a result, Sabre Revenue Integrity was implemented last July. During the first four months, it generated value benefits of approximately US$11.7 million from the release of seats back to sales. Mercator has worked with Calidris (now Sabre Iceland) for a couple of years as a reseller of the real-time revenue integrity solution.
"The reselling partnership ensures that Mercator has the best revenue integrity solution for our customers on the Jupiter platform," said Duncan Alexander, Vice President of Mercator. "Our airline partners work in challenging markets, and they need the best revenue integrity solution in place to handle all deliberate revenue abuse."
Sabre Revenue Integrity, a process automation system, removes bad bookings from the carrier's inventory to help ensure seats are not occupied by false or spurious bookings. The solution looks at business problems including:
- Ticket time limits
- Fake names
- Duplicate bookings and duplicate segments within a booking
- Fake or duplicate ticket numbers
Performing this in real-time ensures that all new and changed bookings are pushed to Sabre Revenue Integrity at the end of a transaction. Using the solution, carriers typically see significant decreases in no shows as well as increases in load-factor percentages on their critical flights. In addition, there is better discipline enforced through their travel agents, and various costs savings are seen through reduction in specific areas such as:
- GDS booking fees from unproductive bookings
- Denied boarding compensation
- Push-back penalties
- Meal wastage
- Employee costs
However, the real value that the solution delivers is normally calculated on the number of seats that it returns back to sales. During the first four full months of using Sabre Revenue Integrity, SriLankan Airlines returned 1,047,809 seats to sales, resulting in an estimated value benefit of US$11.7 million.
This does not even take into account the numbers of warnings the system sends that are acted on by agents or other airline staff.
"Choosing the correct partner for our upgraded revenue integrity solution was important for SriLankan Airlines" said Duncan Alexander, Vice President of Mercator. "Not only were we looking for maximum value generation from a solution, but ongoing service support was also something that we considered to be very important for our future success.
"Working with the best-in-class real-time revenue integrity solution with the support of Mercator and Sabre Iceland gives us this peace of mind. We know our inventory is as clean as possible."