Global AirRail Awards 2018 Nominees

North Star Operator of the Year 2018

  • Stansted Express
  • Denver Transit Operators
  • Heathrow Express
  • Flytoget

AccesRail Partnership of the Year 2018

  • Innovation Through Partnership: Addressing First & Last Mile Connectivity and Mobile Wallet Collaboration
  • Deutsche Lufthansa AG and DB Fernverkehr AG
  • MTR Corporation and Hong Kong International Airport
  • Gatwick Airport Ltd and Govia Thameslink Railway

Project of the Year 2018

  • Express Rail Link’s New Trains: Operational Excellence Through Continuous Improvements
  • Heathrow Rail - Tunnel Control System Upgrade
  • Refurbishment of the CAT terminal at Vienna city centre – bringing JOY and CHILL to CAT customers
  • Becoming the UK's Most Accessible Airport

Marketing Campaign of the Year 2018

  • Stansted Express - Fast Forward Your Escape
  • Sydney Airport Link - Connections
  • Flytoget - Lighter
  • Express Rail Link - KL TravelPass
  • Brisbane’s Airtrain – Airtrain and Tram
  • MTR Corporation Limited – Reconnect with the Young Traveller 
  • Express Rail Link – Back to Hometown
  • Heathrow Express - Always On 

Innovation of the Year 2018

  • Firstco - Tunnel Control System
  • Journey PAL - The Rating Product for Accessible Travel
  • City Air Terminal - CATch the City
  • Heathrow Express – Blue Lights
  • Expedition - HS4Air
  • Express Rail Link - Improving Accessibility For The Disabled
  • Heathrow Express and Arcstream

Innovation of the Year 2018

Firstco - Tunnel Control System

Innovation Firstco

Firstco were contracted by Heathrow Airport to upgrade the station systems that are used to operate the Heathrow Rail Service. The most important element of the project was the development of the new Tunnel Control System (TCS). The TCS is a central command and control application that controls and monitors systems and assets across Heathrow Rail’s three stations and running tunnels.

Systems that are integrated into the TCS include security, customer information, PA/VA, radio, telephony, data networks, lifts, escalators, tunnel ventilation, fire panels, fire main valves, power and tunnel lighting. Over 7000 assets are integrated into the TCS, providing users with real time information on the health and status of the entire rail infrastructure.

The first phase of the new TCS is now in operational use, as are the PA/VA and customer information systems. The remainder will be migrated in the new year. The systems have all been brought into operational use without affecting the passenger experience or impacting on the operational service. 

Journey PAL - The Rating Product for Accessible Travel

Innovation JourneyPAL

Journey PAL is a web-based product that lets passengers with restricted mobility view and rate their rail journey, specific to their personal needs, whilst allowing them to contribute to a crowd-sourced database of accessibility information. Train operators can access the big data, that the product produces, to assist them in continuously improving the end-to-end journey.

Current information provided by operators is generic; therefore, of limited use to users who need to know whether a specific facility is available. Furthermore, it is extremely difficult for passengers with specific requirements to find out information regarding a journey across modes, such as using rail to access an airport, where there is no standard terminology for accessible facilities.

Journey PAL overcomes these issues by empowering passengers, with all the information they need to understand how accessible a station or service is – all in one place. Prior to taking a journey, customers can view a consolidated information platform that provides all information on their up-coming journey, tailored to their personal needs, including ratings of the journey and facilities by other travellers with similar requirements. Once they have undertaken a journey, they can upload a review for other passengers.

City Air Terminal - CATch the City

Innovation CAT

With the CATch the City product, the City Airport Train addresses the demand of stopover passengers for a fast and reliable connection to and from the city centre and attractive sightseeing offers that could be enjoyed within a few hours.

The new product comprises of 4 different offers for a short stopover in Vienna. Passengers can choose between a ride with The Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel, a typical Viennese coffee break with coffee and apple strudel or a trip around the Ring Boulevard on a Hop-on Hop-off bus. The fourth offer is the CAT Return Ticket, in case the stopover passengers want to discover the city of Vienna in their own time.

Tickets cost € 39 and include the CAT Return Ticket and a day ticket for the Viennese public transport system, which is valid until midnight. Upon return to the airport all ticket holders can use the security fast lane in order to get to their gate without queues or delays.
So far over 6,000 additional CAT passengers - a new target group that might otherwise not have been reached - have used the CATch the City product.

Heathrow Express – Blue Lights

Innovation HEX

Blue hazard lights which flash when the train doors of Heathrow Express open on Platform 6 at London Paddington were switched on in December 2017, as part of a new measure to warn passengers to mind the gap and improve train and platform safety.

The challenge is to prevent passengers and staff from tripping into the gap between the train and the platform (otherwise known as step board incidents), which is one of the highest causes of accidents across the UK rail network. Not only do they provide a health and safety risk to passengers and staff, they also inevitably cause delays.

This is the first-time blue lights have been installed at a national rail station. This move follows an earlier innovation by Heathrow Express of installing gap fillers at Heathrow stations, but the same system couldn’t be implemented at Paddington due to curved platforms.

Heathrow Express and Network Rail devised the solution and Pod-Trak installed the lights below the platform edge so lights reflect off the train. Working alongside the blue lights are eye-catching footprint vinyl's with “mind your step” warning messages. The lights and vinyls have resulted in a 95% decrease in step board accidents compared to 2015.

Expedition - HS4Air

Innovation HS4

HS4Air (High Speed for Air) is a proposed strategic high-speed air-rail connection in south east England. The proposal is for a new high-speed railway connection that links the existing HS1 line with the planned HS2 line passing via both Gatwick and Heathrow airports to the south and west of London.

By allowing a transfer of only 15 minutes between Heathrow and Gatwick, the two airports can be perceived as one airport by users and operators and by taking both rail passenger and freight traffic out of London, significant rail capacity is released back for use by Londoners.

Express Rail Link - Improving Accessibility For The Disabled

Innovation ERL

Using public transport can be challenging for wheelchair-bound passengers. Although ERL received feedback from only one wheelchair-bound passenger who had difficulties boarding the train, the company still responded promptly to that complaint. Since any modification to the platform were not be viable, ERL had to innovate by creating a custom-made platform ramp. By adopting the design thinking process, the staff were able to empathise, define and translate a simple idea into a useful and cost-efficient solution.

The ramps can be fitted securely over different platform gap widths. With this simple innovation, ERL is now able to provide a safer and more stable boarding for wheelchair-bound passengers at its stations.

Heathrow Express

Innovation HEX2

Heathrow Express together with experiential technology company Arcstream have created a fun, immersive experience which tracks the walking speed of passengers via infra-red cameras then estimates how long it would take them to walk to London Paddington Station.

This is then projected onto a subway wall along with images of London via a series of ceiling mounted projectors in Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport. Finally, the projection image blurs as if a speeding train is going past and messages remind customers that they would “get there sooner” in just 15 minutes if they took the Heathrow Express train.

This serves to increase visibility and brand awareness at the right time on the arrivals route, helping to stand out from the crowd and encourage passengers to choose Heathrow Express over other onward travel options.

Project of the Year 2018

Express Rail Link’s New Trains: Operational Excellence Through Continuous Improvements

Project ERL

Express Rail Link Sdn Bhd (ERL) bought six new trains to cater to the expected traffic growth from low-cost carrier terminal KLIA2, as well as key townships along the rail corridor. The 50% increase in capacity means better reliability, more comfort onboard and less scheduled downtime for maintenance.

KLIA Transit departures have increased in March 2018 to every 15 minutes during morning and evening peak hours on weekdays from the previous 20-minute intervals, putting it on par with the KLIA Ekspres service. The average daily ridership for KLIA Transit grew by 5% since then, vs the previous 12 months.

ERL has carried 94 million passengers to date. Two thirds are repeat customers and 91% consistently rated its services as Excellent and Good. The new trains further solidify ERL’s strong reputation in safety and reliability, and its commitment to continuous improvement.

Heathrow Rail - Tunnel Control System Upgrade

Project Firstco

Firstco were contracted by Heathrow Airport to upgrade the station systems that are used to operate the Heathrow Rail Service. The most important element of the project was the development of the new Tunnel Control System (TCS). The TCS is a central command and control application that controls and monitors systems and assets across Heathrow Rail’s three stations and running tunnels.

Systems that are integrated into the TCS include security, customer information, PA/VA, radio, telephony, data networks, lifts, escalators, tunnel ventilation, fire panels, fire main valves, power and tunnel lighting. Over 7000 assets are integrated into the TCS, providing users with real time information on the health and status of the entire rail infrastructure.

The first phase of the new TCS is now in operational use, as are the PA/VA and customer information systems. The remainder will be migrated in the new year. The systems have all been brought into operational use without affecting the passenger experience or impacting on the operational service. This new suite of systems will ensure Heathrow can continue to provide a highly reliable, first class air-rail service, while also being fit for the future growth and developments yet to come.

Refurbishment of the CAT terminal at Vienna city centre – bringing JOY and CHILL to CAT customers

Project CAT

6 years after the initial reopening, it was time for an extensive refurbishment of the CAT terminal at Vienna city centre. Following the advice of an expert in marketing and shop architecture, the plan was to bring the exaltations of JOY and CHILL to the passengers. It was decided to use natural materials, vibrant colours and to provide ample seating and storage opportunities as well as any amenities that passengers might desire at this stage of their journey.

The refurbishment offered a chance to use sustainable materials and overhaul the waste separation as well as use new technologies for the passenger information system. A countdown to the train’s departure was implemented in order to keep the passengers in the terminal for longer. Another important aspect was to welcome arriving passengers to Vienna and offer them information about the city. The construction work was completed within 6 months.

Becoming the UK's Most Accessible Airport

Project Gatwick

Gatwick’s aim to become the UK’s most accessible airport includes a range of initiatives and projects providing enhanced facilities for passengers with disabilities. Around 7% of the UK population is thought to avoid air travel due to disability.

In 2017/18 Gatwick Airport has successfully promoted the Hidden Disability Lanyard across the UK aviation industry and to a broader spectrum of businesses. Dementia Friends training has been delivered to almost 2,000 airport staff members and continues to be rolled out across the Gatwick Family. Airport’s facilities have been enhanced through the delivery of a new premium lounge-style reception centre for passengers with reduced mobility and the UK’s first airport sensory room was opened. Gatwick works closely with a range of community groups and charities to better understand how people with disabilities experience the airport journey and uses their feedback to inform their initiatives. The airport also works closely with their partners, including rail providers, to deliver accessibility days which help disabled people to experience the airport environment before they fly.

Marketing Campaign of the Year 2018

Stansted Express - Fast-Forward Your Escape

Marketing STEX

Stansted Express has grown market share despite increased competition and numerous operational challenges, with 30.57% of airport passengers choosing rail transport – also the highest market share it has ever achieved.

The rail operator has taken measures to understand the changing needs and requirements of their customer set and developed a campaign to ensure they’re helping them to experience a better journey. This included the introduction of a campaign that leveraged some of the unique advantages that train travel offers to place Stansted Express in a distinct position and distinguish itself from the competition, with a focus on their core USPs and offer fares.

By delivering a campaign which demonstrated great value for money and a quick and seamless customer experience Stansted Express has ultimately improved overall business performance.

Sydney Airport Link - Connectivity

Marketing Airport Link

Airport Link Company’s (ALC) marketing philosophy is to adopt a clear and concise approach. ALC continues to adopt a marketing campaign which clearly portrays the connectivity of the Sydney Airport Rail Link and its ease towards using the rail link for its customers.
This campaign used a creative, which informed the passenger where the Airport Link train could take them without the hesitation of looking for additional answers. The concept of understanding this form of travel to or from Sydney Airport – into the Central Business District is working. Proof is the ongoing growth in passenger volumes – an additional increase of 944,860 in 12 months.

This has positioned the Sydney Airport Rail Link with a 22% mode share of all passenger traffic travelling to or from Sydney Airport.

Flytoget - Lighter

Marketing Flytoget

Faced with the fiercest competition in its 20-year history, Flytoget Airport Express Train had to redefine its approach to the marketing communication to be relevant and powerful in the battle of winning the customers. The answer was hidden in the brand DNA, the very reason for its success in the first place.

There was a strong temptation to dramatically reduce the fares when their main competitor, NSB, in 2014 quickly took market shares by doubling their frequency of services and offering this at almost half the price of Flytoget tickets. In response, Flytoget decided to stay true to the premium and high-quality service. They sustained their focus to bring the brand DNA, “efficient tranquillity”, to life through a differentiated creative campaign.

This resulted in the “lighter” campaign, which in a visually unique and powerful way took ownership of the stress-free, lighter feeling that comes with travelling with Flytoget. Strong creatives, combined with a smart multi-channel strategy and segmentation based on data to target “prone to travel soon” individuals, resulted in one of Flytoget’s most successful marketing campaigns, reaching all time high communication targets as well as achieving record passenger numbers.

Express Rail Link - KL TravelPass

Marketing ERL Travel

Express Rail Link (ERL) executed a campaign to promote the KL TravelPass to inbound tourists travelling to Kuala Lumpur. Objective was to increase sales through greater awareness of the enhanced product. It covered four key areas:

  • Online content for better search results. A high profile re-launch event, plus an organised blogger/influencer engagement ensured that content on the product was available online.
  • Advertised to specific target markets and profiles through Google and Facebook ads to support the online search, as well as offline advertising in inflight magazines.
  • Placed Promoters at the airport to greet arriving passengers.
  • Worked with strategic partners to ensure that the awareness reached further:

The awareness covered the passenger’s entire journey, from trip planning stage to the passenger’s travels in Kuala Lumpur. The success of this campaign is the 163% growth in ERL’s average daily sales revenue, from October 2017 to October 2018.

Brisbane’s Airtrain – Airtrain and Tram

Marketing Brisbane Airtrain

Brisbane’s Airtrain has developed an integrated “three pillar” marketing strategy that has been highly successful in achieving growth in an extremely competitive operating environment. Airtrain has been buffeted by a “1 in 100 year” construction investment in road infrastructure to access Brisbane Airport, the legalisation of Uber, and Brisbane Airport’s aggressive car park strategy.

Airtrain developed an integrated marketing strategy grounded in market research that differentiated Airtrain’s customer profiles and geographic locations. The three pillars used by Airtrain are:

  • A hyper-targeted digital marketing strategy
  • An enhanced airport presence
  • Geographically targeted mass media in greater Brisbane and the Gold Coast 

These same three pillar principles were applied to launching the “Airtrain and Tram” to Surfers Paradise which has now positioned Airtrain as the preferred transport option between Brisbane Airport and the Gold Coast.

MTR Corporation Limited – Reconnect the Young Traveller

Marketing MTR

While celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Hong Kong Airport Express Line, a large-scale campaign was planned to reconnect the young travel segment which perceived the brand as "luxury" and "remote". A music video with renowned rapper MC Jin was produced to promote the services in an energetic presentation while two promotion offers were also launched to stimulate enrolment to MTR Club and log-in to MTR Mobile. The results were satisfactory with the percentage of young passengers increased and the new number of MTR Club members and login to MTR Mobile growing significantly in short period of time.

Express Rail Link – Back to Hometown

Marketing ERL baggage

Express Rail Link (ERL) executed a digital marketing campaign to promote the Balik Kampung (Back to Hometown) campaign. The main goal of the campaign is to raise the visibility of the company and increase the ridership. The marketing actions were also used to improve the company’s market positioning and revenue.

The festive season usually proves to be a low season for the company and in order to minimise the impact of seasonal trends, this campaign aims to capture leisure travellers who are travelling back to their hometown during the festive season. This campaign also targets the domestic market that is generally price sensitive.

With the help of the social media and digital marketing, ERL succeeded in creating awareness among the price sensitive market. This campaign ran across all digital platforms (Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and KLIA Ekspres mobile App).

As a result, there was an increase in website activity and in revenue when compared to the same time last year. From the post mortem reports, it was noticeable that most of the results were achieved through Facebook Ads and Electronic Direct Mail.

Heathrow Express - Always On

Marketing HEX

Heathrow Express used a dynamic approach through Always On marketing which allowed tailored and responsive content to be shared with relevant passengers at the right time. Using live open-source data and integrating internal service notification systems, the campaign was able to react to real-time information and display appropriate messages making it feel immediately relevant. This also ensured customers considering using a competing service for travelling to Heathrow were frequently served relevant messaging in the right place boosting the chances of them choosing Heathrow Express. Surveys conducted by Ipsos show a 2% increase in both Spontaneous Brand Awareness and Consideration in Quarter 1 of 2018 remaining above 2017 scores in Quarter 2. Results also show HEx over indexing on the desirability measures of “Arrives on time” and “Quickest way” which were key messages within this campaign.

A strong history in marketing innovation gave Heathrow Express the confidence to try this new approach which has proved successful in amplifying its messaging to grow awareness in target audiences.

AccesRail Partnership of the Year 2018

KLIA Ekspres and Grab

Partnership ERl Grab

Last mile connectivity and changing customer behaviour in the digital age are the challenges that Express Rail Link (ERL), operator of Kuala Lumpur’s airport rail services, is currently facing. KLIA Ekspres + Grab package was developed to address these challenges, which comes with a free Grab ride to or from KL Sentral train station, making this an all-encompassing airport-to-home travel solution. To drive the adoption of Malaysia’s “go-cashless” initiative, ERL has also enabled payment acceptance through the Grab application.

Valued at USD$11 billion, Grab is the largest e-hailing platform in ASEAN. While most transportation providers tried to fight the “green giant”, ERL opted to see the potential of a strategic win-win partnership with Grab instead.

Deutsche Lufthansa AG and DB Fernverkehr AG

Partnership DB Lufthansa

With the launch of the intermodal interface, the partnership of Lufthansa and Deutsche Bahn has been lifted to a higher cooperation level. The creation and implementation of an interface between Deutsche Bahn and Lufthansa made it possible to reduce the seat capacity in predefined time slots by returning seats reserved by Lufthansa. This flexible blocked space agreement, which is completely new in the AiRail market, gives Deutsche Bahn the opportunity to resell the non-required seats. As a result, the manual process is history, the monetary risks are reduced and it’s easier to launch new Lufthansa Express Rail destinations.

Besides the capacity management, the interface synchronizes the schedule of Lufthansa Express Rail. Both interface modules (capacity management and schedule changes) substantially reduced the manual workload.

MTR Corporation and Hong Kong International Airport

Partnership MTR AA

The common vision to deliver seamless passenger experience urges the Hong Kong International and MTR to forge partnership in every way possible, including information exchange, joint problem-solving and collaborative service planning, delivering a hassle-free passenger journey to/ from the airport via the provision of Airport Express Line (AEL) service.

With the shared value of continuous improvements, the partners are working on launching the landside collaborative decision-making system, a real-time information sharing platform, to further enhance existing decision-making process via timely transmission of data. To cope with future three-runway system development, the airport and the rail operator are actively engaging in discussions on the new AEL platform and passenger flow arrangement for the reconfigured Terminal 2.

Gatwick Airport Ltd and Govia Thameslink Railway

Partnership Gatwick GTR

The strategic partnership between Gatwick Airport and Govia Thameslink Railway (GTRT) brings together teams from both organisations to drive joint initiatives with a key focus on operations, customer experience, marketing and retail opportunities. The partnership has supported efforts to ease passenger flows through the station, with improved wayfinding and new ticketing opportunities. Oyster and Contactless payments now account for more than 30% of ticket sales, with a further 20% via other smartcard and online sales, providing a much smoother ticket purchase experience.

Efforts in 2018 have focused on preparing for the airport’s busy summer peak, ensuring that rail services can support stable operations and increased mode share. GTR have supported Gatwick’s hidden disability lanyard, training their on-board staff to recognise and support passengers in need. Accessibility has become a critical element of the partnership’s effort to drive for excellence in customer experience with two successful “try a train” events held this year.