During the early 1920s, several small scale airline companies had come up in different parts of Europe but only two of them made it to the top. They were-The Deutscher Aero Llyod and Junkers Luftverkehr. On January 6, 1926, they merged and founded “Deutsche Lufthansa AG”. Since then Lufthansa has been continuously transforming itself into a competitive corporation with maximum customer satisfaction and modern organizational structure.
Deutsche Lufthansa is divided into 2 main divisions:
Airlines comprise of the different passenger airline services like Swiss airlines, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, German Wings, JetBlue and SunExpress.
Systems comprise of various MIS and Software system divisions like Lufthansa Systems, Lufthansa cargo, Lufthansa Technik and Financial Services.
(Refer figure 1.)
Lufthansa Systems is the major player in the Software systems and provides consulting and IT services to various companies. Companies from different sectors like transport, logistics and industry rely on the expertise of Lufthansa Systems. Apart from developing individual applications, it also provides airlines with integrated platform solutions that help them to optimize their core processes.
Its Platform solutions include:
The Integrated Operations Control Center (IOCC) Platform for airline operations
The Integrated Commercial Platform (ICP) for network management and revenue control
The Sirax AirFinance Platform for revenue management
The Operations Platform for flight planning and execution
The GroundSolutions Platform for check-in and boarding
The AdvancedCargo Platform for all cargo processes
Customer Relationship Management systems:
Any airline’s success basically depends on its capability to manage sales, marketing, and to maximize advantages for both from a better understanding of its customers. To achieve this, airline e-CRM models not only provide a comprehensive solution but also contribute towards improving the relationship of the airlines with its customers.
An airline e-CRM model is a system made up of various components, different linkages amongst these components, and the dynamics- that can take advantage of the Internet to generate revenue. This is accomplished by building each of the components-value, revenue sources, rates and pricing, scope, capabilities and sustainability-and crafting linkages amongst these components. Hence it enables an airline to achieve an advantage over its competitors.
Various softwares and MIS systems not only reduce the manual labour but also cater to the needs of the customers better. A broad classification of all the CRM services provided by Lufthansa includes:
Passenger core systems
Value added services
Passenger Airline Competence Centre (PACC)
Selection, Migration and Integration,
GroundSolutions/ Mobile uses SMS dialogues or a mobile website to guide passengers conveniently throughout the entire check-in process. Passengers can use any PC and choose the seats, of their wish from an aircraft-specific seating plan, online. Further they can also print their boarding pass or can send it to a mobile device like a PDA or cell phone. Special check-ins like group check-in or employee standby flights are also integrated in this system. Charter passengers flying with a voucher instead of a ticket can avail this service as well.
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The system requires the customer to place his ID card or passport on the Check-in machine’s scanner. Then the flight number and destination for the flight is to be entered. The touch screen helps in entering the personal details. Once the booking is done, it can be confirmed online on lufthansa.com under “my bookings”. The payment is done via a credit card.
GroundSolutions offers other services such as:
Up gradation to a higher class
Reservation of special seats including window seats or exit route seats.
This shows that the airline is in complete control of its various ancillary revenue channels. As soon as some change is made in the administrative department, this information is available to the passengers. This includes offering an upgrade to the next class or even a change in the advertisement on the boarding pass depending on the time, location or even the flight number.
This has not only reduced the cost and time many folds but has also provided better customer satisfaction by addressing the needs of various customer groups differently. Furthermore, because of the flexibility in the system, the customers can be informed about any kind of changes easily.
On to and return check-ins both possible
Selection of the seats by the passengers on an interactive seating plan
The e-boarding pass available on the cell phone
Passengers have a better control over various processes
This satisfies customer needs and increases compliance
Paperless check-in proves to be more convenient and time saving
Altea Customer Management System by Amadeus:
Altea MIS is owned by Amadeus IT Group, the largest GDS (Global Distribution System) provider in the world with an estimated market share of 37% in 2009. Spread over 195 countries, its customers include airlines, hotels, travel agencies, rail and road transport companies. In 2009, 238 million passengers boarded different airlines using Amadeus Altéa. Air France and Lufthansa are its major customers.
Altea is a new-generation CRM system which addresses airlines’ key functions like sales and reservations, arrival and departure control and inventory management.
Fares and pricing,
Seat map management.
Boarding pass issuance,
Altea enables the customers to manage their booking and ticketing conveniently.it also helps airlines to manage their schedules, seating capacity and the associated fares. The user-interface is further simplified by the preferential use of XML over HTML or SOAP. This minimizes the implementation time and enables seamless connection with any ERP system. The Amadeus Altéa service unifies end-to-end IP network using highly reliable components supplying a fully managed business class of service. This allows Airlines and Ground Handlers to access the Amadeus Altéa DCS services from airports.
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The system enables the airlines to share network connectivity at airports to reduce operating costs and to provide a simpler solution. It guarantees access to Amadeus applications with better services and response times than what other airports can offer today. It provides access to best speeds available and is a very flexible system for the entire community of users. It provides different Class of Service (CoS) functionality for assigning higher priority to business critical traffic (e.g. Check-in) and lower priority to non-critical traffic (e.g. back office).
The Amadeus Altéa CRM System is designed around the following core concepts:
Single data source- this eliminates inconsistency of data.
Customer centricity- entire information about the customer’s journey made available
Automation and flexibility- Intuitive graphical user interfaces facilitate efficient service
Common platform- offers benefit due to the combined input of all the world-leading airlines.
Fully automated ticket availability and booking
Higher customer satisfaction
Increased staff productivity
Faster and more efficient ticketing
Enhanced self service options via web or kiosk
Reduced cost and higher reliability
NiceView is an in-flight “infotainment” system which has been recently introduced by the airlines to make each passenger’s journey a memorable one. It enables the passengers to experience all the beautiful and mesmerizing scenes as though seeing them directly from the pilot’s cockpit.
The NiceView is a moving map system which provides high-resolution 3-D maps and hence provides information and entertainment at the same time. It further provides an impressing 3-D view of the aircraft at its current geographical location as well as the flight path. On zooming in, high-resolution maps of 1 meter per pixel can be configured which display the entire flight route. The view of the entire route, flight track line, destination airport and the arrival time can be seen in 2-D or 3-D. Current flight data can be obtained from airborne communication links via ARINC-429 (ACARS) or Ethernet (Sat-Com/Broadband) . Virtual flights are also possible between the starting and the ending destinations by typing in their names.
Lufthansa Airlines has implemented this software in majority of its international flights. It has also customized the software by including several other options like playing audio or video clips including movies or pre-recorded TV series, sports or political news, information regarding the estimated time of arrival, airport or boarding information or other safety briefings. It further gives environmental information like the estimated temperature outside, weather conditions, time change etc. The system also facilitates language translations as well as feeding and editing of geopolitical data.
At the time of take-off, NiceView automatically displays a welcome note on the touch-screen. Out of the several options including route map, movies, audio clips, weather information, news, flight related information and others, the passengers are free to select any one of their choice. High definition video output (HDTV) is also available apart from the standard definition video signals (NTSC/PAL). To support multi-channel and multi-language content around 4 mono audio channels are provided.
With the help of touch screen, the passengers can surf various components of the system and can go back to the main or previous menu whenever desired. Further the alignment of the maps can be changed as per convenience and the entire time and route of the flight can be displayed. Any kind of selection of an item can be done via the touch-screen followed by a similar exit.
Virtual camera views in 2D and 3D from around the aircraft
A virtual flight route
Display of movies and audio clips
Various geopolitical, graphical and information overlays
News and information
2-D and 3-D locations relative to the aircraft
Illustrations of oceanographic data
Thus all in all NiceView is truly an “infotainment” as it serves the purpose of providing sufficient information as well as entertainment during the flight.
Fig 1- Organizational structure of Lufthansa Group
Fig 2- Display of Amadeus Altea
Fig 3- Route of the flight illustrated in 2-D
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