THURSDAY 13th APRIL 2023, DUBLIN, IRELAND - New data from Datalex, a market leader in digital airline retail products and software solutions, signals a much-anticipated recovery in Chinese aviation activity and increased demand for its digital transformation products and expertise. Figures recorded by Datalex through customers using its airline software in the Chinese market show a material increase in demand in the first three months of this year with March transaction volumes reaching 43% of 2019 figures. Further positive market indications pointing to a steady recovery were also seen with monthly transaction volumes trending upwards. Datalex’s figures show a month on month increase in transaction volumes of 26% in March 2023, compared to February 2023.
Datalex also announced today its three-year renewal deal with Air China, becoming the first customer in the region to benefit from Datalex’s latest version of its China Shopping and Pricing product specifically catering to the Chinese market. This announcement further bolsters Datalex’s position in the Chinese market and wider APAC region and is a clear indication of Datalex’s specialty and expertise in digital transformations, in addition to being a clear signal of its growth ambitions across its key markets.
GROWTH OPPORTUNITY FOR AIRLINES IN APAC THROUGH DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION AS REGION CONTINUES TO RECOVER
The increase in booking volumes recorded by Datalex in China represent a significant shift in the recovery prospects for the aviation sector in the region, following an extended period of suppressed activity. The trends shown by Datalex are also in line with indications of a wider regional recovery as the number of people entering and leaving China hit 1.013 million on the 25th February this year, exceeding one million in a single day for the first time since 2020, according to the Chinese National Immigration Administration*.
The positive market indications coincide with Datalex’s renewed partnership with Air China, the flag carrier of the People's Republic of China, for a further three years. As part of the renewal, Air China will migrate to the latest version of Datalex’s China Shopping and Pricing product, which brings greater efficiencies to the airline such as improved speed to market of new features and releases. As well as achieving ongoing cost and time savings from operational efficiencies, this future-proofed product provides Air China with greater tactical flexibility and a faster market reaction time, and more choice for the airline’s customers. Migrating to the latest product version also means that Air China can leverage digital retail product capabilities in line with the pace of its digital transformation strategy and the market recovery in China.
Commenting on the renewal with Air China and general positive market indications from the Chinese aviation sector, Datalex CEO, Sean Corkery said: “Our data indicates that the recovery of air travel in China is well and truly underway, and we remain hugely optimistic for the potential for our partners in the APAC region. These positive indications of continued recovery coincide with an extension of our long partnership with our valued customer Air China for another three years. We look forward to being a key enabler of Air China’s digital transformation strategy as we work together to future-proof Air China’s digital retailing capabilities. We have invested significantly in the development of the Datalex China Shopping and Pricing Engine product to cater for the unique market needs in China, bringing greater value and commitment to the region.”
OPPORTUNITY TO ADVANCE DIGITAL CAPABILITIES AS DEMAND RETURNS
There are further positive market indications coming from the industry with regards to the APAC aviation sector, following the lifting of restrictions, as domestic traffic also picked up pace in January this year. According to IATA, RPKs (Revenue Passenger Kilometres) reached 86.3% of their January 2019 levels as more passengers return to the skies. Given the size of China’s domestic market – accounting for 9.8% of total industry RPK’s in 2019 - its recent growth has had a substantial impact on global RPKs. In Year on Year terms, domestic RPKs and Available Seat Kilometres (ASKs) increased 67% and 35.5% respectively**.
The continued recovery of travel in China and indeed the wider APAC market provides airlines with an opportunity to advance e-commerce functionality and drive ancillary revenue opportunities as customers return to the skies. Datalex’s recent research report, which surveyed over 10,000 global travellers, uncovered several insights into the ‘digital disparity’ that exists between traveller expectations and airlines that still exist. Specifically in the APAC market, it was found that a third (33%) of end travellers in Singapore believe that airlines are behind other e-commerce providers like Amazon, while this is slightly higher in Australia with 39% of end travellers believing they are behind. However, from an airline perspective, almost a quarter (24%) of airline executives globally believe they are ahead of other e-commerce websites. This perception gap highlights the post-pandemic sentiment of higher digital expectations that passengers are seeking, and a need for retail modernisation from airlines across the board.
Datalex’s purpose is to transform airline retail. Datalex is a market leader in airline retail technology, offering unique products that enable airlines to drive revenue and profit as digital retailers. Datalex has a strong track record of delivering digital retail transformation for progressive airline brands worldwide. The Group is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, and maintains offices across Europe, the USA, China and Australia. In 2022, Datalex was awarded the ‘Great Place to Work®’ and ‘Best Workplaces in Tech™’ certifications. Datalex plc is a publicly listed company, on Euronext Growth, Dublin.