AccesRail Integrated AirRail Partnership of the Year

MTR Corporation Limited and Airport Authority Hong Kong

The partnership between the Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) and the Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTRC) has started back in 1998 enabling an effective Airport Express Line service, connecting the airport with downtown in half an hour and providing passengers with the in-town check-in services.
The partners are now facing a challenge of increased passenger flow and a growing demand for midnight flights. Two mega airport expansion projects - the third runway and the reconstruction of Terminal 2 - will address the first challenge. AAHK and MTRC work closely to ensure a minimal impact to passengers during the construction stage and a seamless future connection from air to rail. For late night passengers Airport Express Line is evaluating options to extend operating hours without affecting maintenance schedules.



Austrian Airlines, ÖBB and AccesRail

Austrian Airlines (OS) and Austrian railways (ÖBB) started a partnership in 2014, targeting to implement Air and Rail-travel in Austria. The partnership started with code share between Vienna International Airport (VIE) and Linz with two-hourly service. Throughout the last years the field of cooperation was widened. Beside the code share, which now offers an hourly service, the partners entered into an interline partnership in 2015 to offer more destinations to the air passengers and to enable options of rail travel in the event of irregularities. In Summer 2017 a further field of cooperation was opened. Staff travelling, including Dead Head Crew, between the bases in Salzburg, Linz and VIE was implemented. And on 1st of September 2017 the next step was taken by opening up the AIRail-product between Salzburg and VIE.
The partnership was established to implement the intermodal travel in the Austrian market, enabling to book train segments and flight segments via the classic airlines distribution channels. The customers have additional benefits like connection guarantee in case of delays and irregularity situations. To improve total travel time and to make travelling more comfortable a research project “Terminal on the Train” was set up.



Thalys and AccesRail

Thalys high-speed trains, connecting Schiphol Amsterdam Airport to Brussels/Antwerp stations in 1h34mins/54mins (and v.v.), has teamed up with AccesRail to offer an AirRail experience to most airlines companies and passengers.
Until last year Thalys was working exclusively with KLM but since 2017 Thalys “flight segment” is accessible to all airlines having an interline contract with AccesRail, via AccesRail IATA code 9B.
This technological innovation will be a benefit first of all to the customers travelling from Brussels or Antwerp to Schiphol Amsterdam hub for international journeys and those landing in Schiphol and travelling to Belgium for business or wanderlust.
The objective is transparent: substitute all the very short haul flights (so called “feeders”) flying to airline hubs on the Thalys network with Thalys high-speed rail services.
Environmental footprint is key in this project: Thalys CO2 emission is 12 times lower than flight.
In a nutshell, an efficient use of the multimodal transport possibilities (airline hubs and high-speed train lines) will encourage as effectively as possible the mobility increase and the intercultural exchange.


Travelport Project of the Year



To coincide with the opening of the new terminal at Oslo's Gardermoen, Flytoget set out to create something original and meaningful for the brand. The new brand DNA and identity resulted in new station environments, a new way finding strategy, new gates and ticket machines, a new uniform, updated mobile app and website, a new livery and is guiding the design of Flytoget's communications and new trains.
Wayfinding brand beacons are tactically placed guiding passengers from one point in the journey to the next. Giant LED walls welcome them to Norway delivering live information and promoting Oslo. Flytoget's new ticketing strategy encourages the use of ticketless travel as part of their environmental commitment. The new uniforms are designed to inspire pride in the staff.
The brand was continually validated against the brand strategy, tested by staff, consumers and the Norwegian design community ensuring it was well received by both passengers and employees. Agile methodology ensured the project was delivered on time and on budget.
The new brand now works digitally in a dynamic form, has standout in communications and in stations, and lives as a physical embodiment in Flytoget trains and brand spaces.

Flytoget Project


Gautrain Management Agency

Rhino RAGE

Every year thousands of rhinos are poached for their horns. In South Africa alone, the number of rhinos poached has increased by 9000% since 2007 – from 13 to a record high of 1,215 in 2014. With less than 20 000 white rhinos left in Africa, something drastic needs to be done to put an end to poaching.
Gautrain, in conjunction with the Sony Group ex London, as primary sponsor, and the RAGE organization teamed up to create a unique Augmented Reality app showing a rhino mother and cub grazing on the platform, swishing flies and nudging each other. Passengers could even take a selfie with the virtual animals. This delighted commuters and caused a viral groundswell of awareness. A plethora of press and media reporting carried the app, which ran at Gautrain for some weeks. Immense talk-ability and awareness was the result. In conjunction with this, a high-quality TV campaign was run by the Sony Channel to encourage awareness.

Gautrain Project


Heathrow Express

Heathrow Express in the Community

In the past 12 months Heathrow Express’ corporate social responsibility initiative to re-engage with the community in Paddington has resulted in 100 colleague placements on community activity days, with Paddington Partnership and has provided personal development and curriculum support to students at Harris Academy St John’s Wood – an inner-city secondary school.
The projects have been met with enthusiasm from both staff and members of the community alike. Spanning initiatives including cooking for homeless women, food banks and litter picking as well as providing mock interview days to help students better understand what will be expected from the world of work, and to expand their knowledge of jobs available, have not only benefited those who live in Paddington, but provided Heathrow Express employees with rewarding activities and increased motivation for their own jobs.
Working in conjunction with Paddington Partnership and Business in the Community has also provided Heathrow Express volunteers with focused, structured, worthwhile and rewarding initiatives.
Completing projects in Paddington has increased employee engagement within Heathrow Express and in the most recent Pulse survey, 70% of colleagues rated Heathrow Express as a great place to work, up 12% on the year before and significantly greater than the 65% scored by Heathrow as a whole.

HEX Customer




The aim of the project was to build a 3.4km railway line extension connecting Malpensa Airport Terminal 1 station to Terminal 2. The Terminal 2 serves approximately one third of all Malpensa airport passengers and was only accessible by road.
The T1-T2 railway link represents the first phase of the Malpensa North Rail Access Project aiming to link Malpensa Airport to the main rail network from the North. The final design of Phase 2 is currently in progress.
Following the scheme already successfully experienced in the past, the project has been split into two different sections. Section 1, the T2 Station, has been developed by SEA Milan Airports; whereas Section 2, the railway link, has been developed under the responsibility of FERROVIENORD, the Regional Railway Infrastructure Manager.
The new connection between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 started operating on 18th of December 2016. Only six month later, 1.43 million passengers have used the service, 30% more than in previous year during the same period. The number of airport passengers that use the train with origin/destination of Milan Centrale, Hub Interchange with High Speed lines and other lines increased by 7%, reaching 34% on the total.


North Star AirRail Link of the Year


Over the last year Flytoget has experienced more competition from its major competitor who are actively targeting their market. At the same time Oslo Gardermoen airport has gone through significant changes with the completion of the new airport terminal, presenting an ever changing landscape for Flytoget's primary hub. The company is in the process of procuring 8 new high speed trains from the Spanish manufacturer CAF.
The new trains will be state of the art, with a large investment in design, to improve comfort and increase the overall passenger experience. In addition to this Flytoget has created something original and meaningful for the brand - a new brand DNA and brand identity has resulted in new station environments, a new wayfinding strategy, new gates and ticket machines, a new uniform, updated mobile app and website, and a new livery. The work also set in place the foundations and inspiration for the design of the new trains.
All in all, a very exciting and busy year for the Flytoget team! During the last six months the passenger numbers have increased as have the financial results.

FLytoget web


Heathrow Express

The Heathrow Express premium rail service provides the fastest route from London to Heathrow, with a journey time of just 15 minutes to Terminals 2 and 3 and just a few minutes more to Terminals 4 and 5.
In 2017 Heathrow Express transformed customer service and scored the National Rail Passenger Survey’s top overall customer satisfaction rate of 97%, proving that despite service disruptions caused by Crossrail engineering work, effective communication with passengers can keep customer service levels buoyant.
This year’s off-peak pricing strategy has tackled price perceptions head on, with £15 Saturdays and advanced fares starting from just £5.50.
The B2B team have seized the opportunity of wifi in the sky and worked with Virgin Atlantic to ensure that customers can book Heathrow Express tickets on board, while improving the ease and speed with which travel management companies can integrate Heathrow Express into their booking processes.
The year to date has seen passenger journeys increase by 9%t and online sales have grown by 41%. Similarly, B2B channels have also seen an increase in revenue of just under £1 million.

HEX Link

Customer Service Excellence

Bombela Concession Company

The Gautrain conducts monthly passenger satisfaction surveys to determine the level of passenger satisfaction over the period. A pre-determined benchmarking is set and satisfaction scores should remain on or above the set benchmark. After noting a decline in satisfaction in most areas, a passenger satisfaction remedial plan was developed and implemented to address areas of concern. Remedial action addressed passenger perception that the train and bus service was irregular, perceptions regarding safety and security at stations, cleanliness at stations and the ease with which passengers transact with the Gautrain.
The remedial initiatives were communicated to passengers across multiple platforms and Gautrain staff were engaged to ensure consistent implementation of initiatives. Reporting categories were created for each key objective to ensure close monitoring of efforts. Progress was evaluated on a weekly, monthly, bi-monthly and quarterly basis. Reports on key areas addressed provided positive results, with customer complaints reaching an all-time low and a marked decline in queries following the campaign efforts.

Bombela Customer


City Airport Train

The City Airport Train decided to compete with alternative airport transportation providers in Vienna by offering a unique welcome experience. By highlighting important customer touchpoints, initiatives were planned that inform and attract new and returning customers.
With the objective to communicate the USPs of the fastest premium connection between airport and city center, CAT aims to reach and convince the customers even before their arrival. Therefore CAT analysed the passengers’ chain of transport and determined where it should be present with information and advertising in order to increase the planning and travelling comfort for its customers. In this on-going process CAT enables its customers to experience a more satisfying arrival in Vienna.
From a commercial perspective the initiatives were highly successful, the goal of a 20% increase in sales by the mobile sales staff has been vastly outperformed since currently CAT measures a 110% increase in this area. Market research shows that the company successfully caters to customers’ expectations – approval levels are currently at 98%.



MTR Corporation Limited

To increase customer satisfaction MTR's Airport Express Line has conducted a Journey Mapping exercise, identifying key areas for improvement. This resulted in several key initiatives, including the expansion of free wifi coverage in stations and on board; enhancing the Airport Express Shuttle Bus Service as feeder transport by increasing the network and introducing live bus tracking; and upgrading ticketing to accept digital payments.
The results of the Mystery Shopper Survey indicate a sharp improvement on both service quality of staff and the satisfaction on passenger journey with overall performance score of 91.97 out of 100. Airport Express Line has also received the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence 2017 for achieving 97% rating of 4 or above out of five.

MTR Customer


Heathrow Express

In order to meet the challenges of new market competitors and to overcome service disruption caused by infrastructure build, Heathrow Express has worked with Network Rail to plan work to cause minimal disruption.
Through a restructure programme and the implementation of new service standards, Heathrow Express has transformed its already excellent customer service and through forensic monitoring of customer needs, the company communicates and sells to passengers in ways of their choosing.
Heathrow Express provides high quality information to customers using state of the art technology to communicate on digital platforms as well as through traditional channels.
In the spring 2017 National Rail Passenger Survey, Heathrow Express achieved the UK’s highest overall customer satisfaction score of 97%.
The survey stated that "punctuality/reliability" has the biggest impact on overall satisfaction, and Heathrow Express scored 96% – 19% more than counterparts in London and the South East. The service, also scored 96% in "length of time the journey was scheduled to take (speed)." The attitudes and helpfulness of staff at the station scored 90%, up 4% year-on-year, and availability of staff at the station went up 10% to 87%.

HEX Customer

Marketing Campaign of the Year


Travel Guarantee

Flytoget deliver a premium airport express service to Oslo Airport and the extra value they offer travellers consist of more than running a little faster and a little more frequently than its main competitor. With the competitor aggressively promoting lower prices, it becomes increasingly important for Flytoget to create awareness of benefits their customers enjoy only with them.
The unique travel guarantee is one such benefit, but since its true value is only experienced during disruptions and Flytoget’s punctuality is at such a consistently high level, it is very little known, even among frequent users.
By using the power of social media Flytoget went on a fun quest to first find the most patient person in Norway and then to challenge this individual to find someone who had actually used the travel guarantee. The resulting story illustrated both the exceptional punctuality of Flytoget and in the end, how valuable the guarantee is when unforeseen events happen to cause an exceptional delay.
The campaign used a mix of bought, earned and owned media to tell an engaging story, resulting in a substantial lift in awareness from 17% to 40% during the campaign period.

FLytoget Marketing


MTR Corporation Limited

Ride Smart! Ride with the Airport Express!

As the fastest rail link between the city and the airport in Hong Kong, from time to time the Airport Express Line offers different value-added services with an aim to enhance the customer experience.
However, these value-added services were launched at different time and usually promoted in bits and pieces through limited communications due to budget constraint. The public may only b aware of one or some of the services but not the comprehensiveness of overall journey. Thus, the awareness level of key AEL services is also relatively low.
To address the challenges, AEL consolidated the budget for one single large-scale advertising campaign - Ride Smart! Ride with the Airport Express!
Through the setting up of a dedicated mini website, it features the whole AEL journey experience. Customers can browse the mini website to learn all the value-added services that the operator provides and understand how AEL helps them in planning the trip to enjoy the ride. AEL has created short videos for viral sharing through social media, plus an all-rounded 360 degree advertising approach. The campaign was very successful in driving awareness and also usage of key AEL services which were both higher than the targets.

MTR MArketing


Bombela Concession Company

Low Cost Airline Partnership Promotion

Bombela has noticed that the ridership on Gautrain services over the festive months of December and January was declining each year, posing a significant financial risk for the Concession company.
To address this, Bombela has implemented a strategic integrated marketing and communications campaign aimed at both increasing the ridership over the period and introducing new users to the service.
A partnership with a local low-cost airline Mango Airline was established, attracting families, holiday makers and new users to the Gautrain’s Airport service. During the Gautrain-Mango campaign guests on board of Mango flights, inbound to OR Tambo, were given a complimentary Gautrain card, some of which were pre-loaded with R174 value, which is the maximum cost of a journey on the Gautrain from the OR Tambo international Airport. Guest could then check if their card was the lucky one at the Gautrain airport station.
To encourage users to return to the service and to afford Mango Airline the opportunity to also capture a market, Mango Airlines offered guests who loaded value onto their complimentary Gautrain cards, a flight voucher for the equivalent value (up to R250), redeemable off of their next Mango flight.
The campaign saw a significant increase in passenger numbers during the months of November and December 2016, and January 2017.

Bombela Marketing


Heathrow Express

Holiday Hacks

The Heathrow Express Holiday Hacks campaign during the first quarter of 2017, tapped into a trending phrase and generated a return on investment of 8.9. The integrated campaign used Digital Out of Home advertising across the London tube and rail networks and Digital Display, PPC and Social on desk tops as well as utilising Heathrow Express’ own digital platforms. The campaign has contributed to Heathrow Express’ objective for 2017 to grow passenger journeys off-peak and protect peak revenues. Passenger journeys to date have increased by 9% and revenue for peak has actually increased by £1 million.

HEX Marketing


Express Rail Link Sdn Bhd

RM40 per Trip

In January 2016, Express Rail Link Sdn Bhd (ERL) increased the fares for its KLIA Ekspres and KLIA Transit services for the first time in order to remain sustainable financially and operationally. The KLIA Ekspres one-way fare was increased by 57%, from MYR35 to MYR55.
The operator has expected a drop in ridership by as much as 30% on the KLIA Ekspres. To support the ridership recovery goal, ERL has approached Mastercard to be a strategic partner. Both parties agreed to offer an online discount promotion starting 1 January 2016 and was subsequently extended until June 2017. Customers could get 20% off standard fares when buying online or at the self-service kiosk using Mastercard cards. “RM40 per trip” value proposition was used to attract attention and change the “expensive” perception.
The Mastercard offer helped increase the online and kiosk revenue contribution towards KLIA Ekspres revenue from 5% at the end of 2015 to 26% in June 2017. Based on the customer surveys from Q3 2016 until Q2 2017, 12.6% of customers would have been lost if not for the Mastercard offer. As at June 2017, Mastercard’s share of online sales increased by almost 30 percentage points to 68%, compared to 39% in December 2015.