PHILIPPINES – Airlines worldover continue to look at ways to overcome the significant challenges brought by the on-going effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The restrictions on international and domestic travel caused ripples of setbacks which necessitates collaboration among industry players to enable themselves to bounce back stronger.
For AirAsia Philippines, their struggles from the pandemic prompted them to renew their unbreakable commitment to serve their guests despite turbulent times. No matter how dark the clouds seem during the flight, there is always a silver lining amid the storm.
“I shall never forget March 19, 2020. There was a total lockdown; all flights were canceled, and the airports were closed. It was tough…We know that it will take us two to three months to get back our commercial flights, thus we have to be agile,” said AirAsia Philippines Chief Executive Officer Ricky Isla.
The company immediately implemented multi-layered approaches to safety , such as enforcing rigorous sanitation processes on ground, inside the aircraft, equipping their ground staff, pilots and cabin crew with protective equipment, thermal screening, and implementing strict social distancing, among others.
“The most important question that our passengers would always challenge us is, is it safe to ride in an aircraft considering that you’re close to your seatmate? But to us, we made sure that there’s proper education regarding our Highly Efficient Particulate Air Filtration process. Because of that, we were able to rebuild immediately the confidence of our passengers to fly…” Isla noted.
While commercial flights are still recovering, AirAsia shifted to chartered flights for both passengers and cargo. In partnership with various government agencies, AirAsia safely mounted chartered repatriation flights among Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to help them return to their provinces to reunite with their families. They also accommodated chartered trips to transport personal protective equipment (PPEs) and medical supplies to the country, which are essential for medical frontliners in the fight against COVID-19.
The volatile climate did not prevent the business from seeing the silver lining on the horizon. In fact, it opened doors of opportunities for growth and expansion as it launched airasiaSuper App, the fastest growing digital, travel and lifestyle platform that features not only flights but flights plus hotel bundles under snap, unlimited deals, cargo and logistics venture Teleport and soon more offerings that will cater to the growing ecommerce business in the Philippines.
AirAsia augmented their customer services to better assist the concerns of their guests through an efficient customer interface to address queries on changing traveling requirements effectively.. They also adopted contactless solutions to seamlessly verify passenger information through FACES, a facial recognition technology pioneered, developed and operated by AirAsia which will replace boarding passes and make traveling in the new normal better, convenient and unique.
This was made possible by having a reliable partner who provided them with the necessary support in embracing technology to adapt to the new normal. PLDT Enterprise, through its ICT arm ePLDT, supported AirAsia in providing exceptional customer experience to their patrons. Through its slew of digital solutions, AirAsia was able to uphold its unbreakable commitment to keeping its customers satisfied despite all the regulations they need to follow.
“During this pandemic, we made sure that PLDT Enterprise was with us the whole time. They provided AirAsia with a very well-managed Emergency Disaster Hotline Service, through ePLDT, which is powered by Curo Teknika,” Isla said.
Moreover, with the launch of the airasia Super App in the Philippines, they expanded their presence in providing comprehensive travel experience to passengers, as they now also assist other travel necessities, including bookings for hotel and medical requirements, shopping, and activities, among others.
“AirAsia is known to be a disruptor in the industry. With the help of our Malaysian group and all other subsidiaries in Indonesia, Thailand, and Japan, we transformed into a digital airline company.; we are now more than just an airline,” Isla added.
“Marami pong salamat sa ePLDT. The service aims to support a full online customer service delivery for AirAsia and it’s complete with all the digital platforms which are conducive to our customers to address all their needs even beyond post pandemic. And we will continue to build this up aside from our AVA (Allstar Virtual Assistant); we will make sure that our ePLDT powered by Curo Teknika is with us the whole time,” Isla highlighted.
“We are very happy that we shall be keeping this partnership with PLDT Enterprise as we progress and move forward to a better pandemic-free future.”
PLDT Enterprise’s Unbreakable Commitment campaign highlights its collaboration with businesses and organizations in the country to demonstrate how creating partnerships has helped companies succeed amid various challenges and in turn, contribute to the lives of Filipinos.
The campaign also reinforces PLDT Enterprise’s unbreakable commitment to empowering organizations through technology.
“PLDT Enterprise is a reliable partner that companies can depend on for technologies that will empower their business to overcome the limitations of face-to-face transactions. During these times, companies are left with no choice but to go digital and it is our unbreakable commitment in PLDT Enterprise to value their trust by delivering solutions that will take their business to greater heights,” said Jojo Gendrano, FVP and Head for PLDT and Smart Enterprise.
PLDT Enterprise and ePLDT have been instrumental to companies including AirAsia Philippines. as it takes off on its journey to business recovery. The times have been turbulent, and the skies have been dark, but with the help of the right partner who catapulted the business to reach its goals, the business found boundless opportunities onboard.