Feb 15, 2018 - Qantas is among investors backing a new system under development by a US travel technology company that aims to end airline overbooking and eliminate the embarrassing fiascos in which passengers are ordered off overbooked flights.
Many airlines routinely overbook flights because a small number of passengers don’t show up and the carriers want to fill as many seats as possible before takeoff.
The new system, called Yana, is designed to consign airline overbooking to history. Yana should allow airlines to work out which passengers are most likely to be flexible about their flights and happy to switch to later departures in return for incentives such as travel vouchers, frequent flyer points or an upgrade.
Airlines can then contact these passengers in the days before the flight and make them an offer. This should avoid dreadful showdowns at boarding gates, which have seen paid and booked passengers denied boarding, to scenes of angst and grief. Even worse, there have been instances of passengers evicted from, or dragged off, US domestic flights – providing shockingly bad publicity for airlines.
The tech developer behind Yana, Atlanta-based Volantio, says it has arranged a USD 2.6 million funding round “led by Ingleside Investors and strategic investors International Airlines Group (IAG), JetBlue Technology Ventures, and Qantas Ventures”.
Qantas Group executive, strategy, innovation and technology, Rob Marcolina, said: “The travel industry and customer needs continue to evolve and investments in innovations like Volantio are important to ensure we keep exploring ideas, disrupting the status quo and discovering new ways of working to deliver better outcomes for our business and our customers. As a participant in Qantas Ventures’ first AVRO Accelerator program, Volantio is a great example of the impact that investment in scale-ups can make.”
Volantio’s chief executive, Azim Barodawala said Volantio was “extremely proud that the investment arms of three key global aviation leaders, spanning three distinct geographies, have chosen to back Volantio and its market leading technology.
“Our platform provides a rare triple-win,” Barodawala added. “Flexible passengers receive a benefit for changing their travel plans, last-minute travellers are able to access flights that otherwise would have been full, and airlines can better maximise network capacity and unit revenue, while putting greater predictability and control back in the hands of their customers.”
IAG is the parent of British Airways, Iberia and Vueling. Ingleside Investors represents the interests of the New York-based Israel family. The JetBlue input is from JetBlue Technology Ventures, which “invests in, incubates and partners with early stage startups at the intersection of technology, travel and hospitality to improve the entire travel experience”.
A Volantio media statement described Qantas Ventures thus:
Qantas Ventures was established in January 2017 as the venture capital arm of Qantas Airways Limited (“Qantas”). Qantas Ventures invests in and partners with early and growth stage technology companies that have the capability to revolutionize our customers’ journeys, transform our operations and disrupt the financial services, wellness, data and marketing sectors. Qantas Ventures looks to support the best local and international entrepreneurs who can leverage the Qantas Group’s global footprint, expertise and unique assets to scale within Australia and globally. AVRO Accelerator is one sourcing channel for Qantas Ventures, find out more at qantas.com/avro.
Source: GlobalTravelMedia Written by Peter Needham || February 15, 2018 |||