Datalex has had a presence in China for over ten years, and we count ourselves lucky to have customers like Air China and airlines from the HNA group. We asked our China team to tell their COVID-19 story.
The Datalex China team returned to work as planned after Chinese New Year break, just as the country was beginning to see the pervasive effects of COVID-19. At this time, most people were requested to stay at home and avoid going outside; the airline industry was already severely impacted by this global event as less than 20% of scheduled flights were taking off. But because of the nature of e-Commerce, most of our work could be done online and we were able to work from home in February. The Datalex China team made the best of this situation and there was very limited impact to our daily work as we sought solutions for our customers in these early stages.
The situation in China began to turn around in March 2020. The national airline industry started recovering gradually as people began returning to the cities to work. The Datalex China team made a partial return to office work, with 2 employees allowed to work in the office every day according to government policies at the time. The rest of our team continued to work from home. It was very important for us to cooperate with the municipal government to implement the correct safety and epidemic prevention measures for both personal protection and public protection when returning to the office. This involved creating a plan to return to work, setting up an office disinfection schedule and temperature measurement.
Below is the Datalex Beijing Office entrance. Anyone who enters must take their temperature and wash their hands upon entering the office.
Now, in May, China has almost returned to normal. Beijing, the capital of China, announced downgrading the public health emergency from Level 1 to Level 2 as of 30 April. The Datalex China Team made a full return to the office on 6 May 2020. While things are mostly business as usual, the team still insists on taking necessary safety precautions throughout the workday to keep everyone healthy. This includes:
1) Wearing a face mask in the office
2) Maintaining social distance in the office
3) Coming to the office early and finishing work early
The pictures below show our “new normal” working life in the Datalex Beijing Office. Wearing face masks and Social Distancing are two key actions we must follow. No one can sit next to each other, which led to Zenan and David sitting in separate meetings rooms to attend the same meeting.
Although the business of our Chinese customers was and is significantly impacted by the current situation and the number of scheduled flights cancelled, we have seen customer demand increase compared to pre-COVID-19. Due to the constantly evolving nature of this global event, both travellers and airlines need to make decisions and changes frequently. Our team is working closely with airline customers to fully support these unique and dynamic business needs.
The airline industry in China is recovering gradually now, especially for domestic flights. The schedules of domestic flights in China has recovered to 50%. It will return to 60% at end of H1 2020, 80% at end of Q3 and return to the same level as2019 before the end of 2020.
China recorded 115 million domestic tourists for the Labor Day holiday from May 1-5, generating a domestic travel revenue of RMB 47.56 billion (USD 5.7 billion) in 5 days. The data from the Ministry of Transport shows that China's railways carried 22.89 million passengers from April 30 to May 3, while 2.53 million air passengers were recorded during this time. Domestic tourism looks promising at this point.
However, due to the global epidemic situation and trend, international flight schedules are still heavily impacted. Large airlines such as Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines will maintain the "Five-One Policy” (one airline, one country, one route, one week, one flight) until the end of June. Mid-sized airlines such as Tianjin Airlines have put their international flight schedules on hold until further notice.
What does this mean for Datalex?
Chinese carriers are restarting their engines. As the recovery of the industry develops, all airlines are placing their focus on the operation of core business systems. All update requests and needs are treated as top priority. The Datalex China team is playing its part in this recovery, often receiving customer calls late at night and on weekends then taking immediate action to find solutions and to support our Chinese customers as they seek to protect their businesses. Since the end of March 2020, the Datalex China team has successfully deployed three go-lives for Air China.
As the situation improves and international travel returns to China, Datalex is ready to support our partners as they return to growth.
Contact Datalex today to explore how we can support your airline and your customers.
General Manager, Datalex China
Yundi Cao has been with Datalex for 12 years and has worked in different roles
including as Development Engineer, Customer Owner and recently as General Manager of Datalex China.