Members' News

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Zapin performance by JKKN dancers

MALAYSIA: Express Rail Link (ERL) kicked off its Visit Malaysia 2020 Campaign on Friday, 17th January. This initiative is a collaboration between ERL and National Department for Culture and Arts (JKKN), and supported by Tourism Malaysia to showcase Malaysia’s diverse cultures to visitors arriving at KL Sentral. There will be a cultural performance twice a month (except in May and August) at the KLIA Ekspres Arrival Hall, starting 17th January 2020. 

ERL is taking several initiatives to support the government in achieving the targets of 30 million tourist arrivals and RM100 billion in tourist receipts this year. Besides the cultural performances, ERL is also organising a Monthly KLIA Ekspres Ride & Win Campaign starting 1 February 2020 in collaboration with Tourism Malaysia and with the support of tourism partners for prize sponsorships, to spice up the VM 2020 Campaign and create more excitement for inbound visitors. This new campaign is open to all KLIA Ekspres customers, who buy train tickets during the campaign period and enrol online to win monthly grand prize, sponsored by the tourism partners.
 
Noormah Mohd Noor, Chief Executive of ERL said: “ERL will play our part to promote Malaysia as a preferred destination, and work together with Tourism Malaysia, hotels, travel agents and other partners to support the Visit Malaysia 2020 Campaign. We will continue to provide special promotions such as the Family Package and Group Saver as well as enhance our transport packages for tourists such as KL TravelPass and Discover Kuala Lumpur to better meet the tourist needs.”
 
“When tourists fly into Kuala Lumpur, one of their first Malaysian experiences will be on board our train as they make their way into the city. With our impeccable 99.7% on-time performance and safety record, we aim to provide a great first impression to these visitors,” said Noormah.

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Global Report 2019

Passenger transport and operations consultancy North Star, has released its seventh annual Global Air-Rail Market Share Report. The report evaluates a sample of worldwide Market Share trends of rail connections to airports. North Star assessed a combined 60 million air-rail passenger journeys, which occurred during 2018, from a sample of air-rail operators in Australia, Malaysia, China, the United Kingdom, France and Austria. Whilst acknowledging the vast worldwide patronage that continues to use air-rail connections, North Star’s Managing Director Richard Brown recognised the ongoing headwinds facing the industry. Mr Brown reported that North Star’s analysed Market Share index increased in 2018 for the first time in three years.

“The industry continues to experience increased competition from ride share and car-hailing competitors”, reported Mr Brown. “Like many established industries, Air-Rail has been confronted with disruption”. Reflecting on North Star’s seventh report, Mr Brown observed the findings on marketing and fare promotions. “The long-term data indicates the persuasive evidence that investment in marketing supports Market Share growth”, he said. “And interestingly, a number of our operators have once again been successful in moving the Market Share dial via fare discounts and promotions. We are seeing a range of exciting approaches to marketing and fare pricing from many of our sample operators”.

Sydney Airport Link’s Chief Executive Tim Anderson, who oversees more than 9 million annual air-rail passenger journeys to Australia’s gateway airport commended North Star’s Report. “It’s very interesting to read North Star’s study and consider what is occurring around the globe”, he said. “Geographically we are very diverse, but there are many similar challenges and opportunities. This report gives us a common bond and creates conversations between us which help improve our operations.”

Vivian Chan of the Commercial and Marketing Division of Hong Kong’s Airport Express added, “The report is indeed a very interesting read which allows us to understand more about the strategies and tactics of the air-rail operators around the globe. It gives us new insights on how to improve our business and to provide better transport experience to the passengers.”

“The Market Intelligence Report has been become a reliable annual source of information and inspiration! As we continue to face stiff challenges from competitors and the marketplace, we are privileged to have access to a worldwide network of air-rail operators who willingly share their solutions to similar problems. We can adopt or adapt some of these unique approaches for our market, and hopefully, our strategies may also be of use to other operators.” Wei-Wen YEOW, Senior Vice President, Marketing Management, KLIA Ekspres, Malaysia.

“The Northstar Global Market Intelligence Report is a valid instrument for us to get overall knowledge about the international market and to further plan and adjust our own marketing and sales strategies. The results are vital in understanding how the market is driven. This year’s results are especially interesting as they show that marketing investment and the state of competitive modes are the biggest influencers in the industry.” Belina Neumann, Managing Director City Airport Train Vienna

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ERL Deepavali Kolam at KL Sentral

MALAYSIA: Express Rail Link (ERL) has partnered with Lashini.my, a one-stop marketplace for fashion and lifestyle, to host a diversity-inspired Deepavali Kolam at the KLIA Ekspres Arrival Hall located within KL Sentral Station in celebration of the Festival of Lights this year.

As a highlight of the Kolam unveiling, the Deputy Director General (Planning) of Tourism Malaysia, Yang Berusaha Encik Zulkifly bin Md Said, who was representing Yang Berhormat Datuk Mohamaddin bin Ketapi, The Honourable Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, was invited to light a traditional Indian lamp, known as Kuthu Vilakku. The lamp lighting symbolises the triumph of light over darkness.
 
The cultural attraction will kick start ERL’s initiatives to support Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign and is expected to attract locals and tourists for a feast for the senses.
 
Noormah Mohd Noor, Chief Executive Officer of ERL said: “While ERL may just be regarded as an airport transfer provider to many air travellers, we are determined to play our part and support the Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign for the good of the country. Through our partnerships with Tourism Malaysia, online travel agents, hotels and other partners, we will work together to promote Malaysia to the world as a preferred destination in 2020. We are looking to further enhance our transport packages for tourists such as the KL TravelPass and Discover Kuala Lumpur, and we are working with new partners to offer more value-for-money products.

ERL Deepavali Kolam at KL Sentral 2 

“When tourists fly into Kuala Lumpur, one of their first Malaysian experiences will be on board our train as they make their way into the city. With our impeccable 99.7% on-time performance and safety record, we aim to provide a great first impression to these visitors,” she added.
 
Spreading over 1,600 square feet, the Deepavali Kolam was drawn using 500kg of broken rice mixed with organic colours, and is the largest freehand Kolam in a public space. Kolam, usually drawn outside the doorstep, ushers in goodness and symbolises the celebration of life. It is a sign of invitation to welcome all into the home while also making the place look beautiful.
 
The design of the Kolam was conceptualised by Pinnacle Events Stylist and is inspired by the beauty, vibrant colours and magnificence of the peacock – the focal point of the Kolam. The intricate art piece showcases a vivid array of colours that represent the unity and diversity of Malaysians. It also appropriately features the Visit Truly Asia Malaysia 2020 logo. Employees from the design agency, Lashini.my and ERL participated in the laborious but fun activity which took a total of 26 hours to complete.
 
Modern elements such as the train and e-commerce conveniences depicting today’s mobility and connectivity are infused with a traditional colourful design that represents prosperity. This collaboration embraces the fact that our people are modern and connected, yet are rooted in traditions that every Malaysian can relate to and enjoy.
 
The Kolam will be on display at KL Sentral from 22nd to 31st October 2019. Everyone is invited to view the stunning display, pose at the Kolam and tag #deepavali #diwalilights #kliaekspres #VM2020 #VisitMalaysia2020 on social media.

ERL Speakers Cards

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UK: Heathrow Express, the fastest route between London Paddington and Heathrow Central, has announced its popular £5.50 ticket fares will now be available every day of the week. The new low online fares ranging from £5.50 to £16.50, available for both peak and non-peak times throughout the week. 

The new ticket pricing coincides with the launch of a new multi-lingual website and app. A guaranteed number of discounted tickets will be released for every day of travel for advanced online purchase thanks to the new dynamic pricing structure.

Similar to an airline style yield management system, this increased availability of discounted tickets beyond weekends, extends the value offered by the transport provider that has frozen prices since 2018 and offers a permanent kids travel free initiative.

Previously the cheapest weekday travel available was £12.50 when booked 90 days in advance rising to £16.50 for bookings up to 14 days before travel.

Now, customers booking in advance will see fares available for £5.50, £7.50, £10.00, £12.50, £15.00 or £16.50 depending on availability.

Additional front-end improvements to the website and app allow travellers faster booking, clear ticket and price options, personalised suggestions using customer location and booking history and automated next train times. This is presented in an easy to navigate, responsive application.

In parallel, Heathrow Express are upgrading their API technology which is currently integrated with various partners’ booking systems for fast processing of ticket requests from corporate clients or trade partners.

A new JSON REST API Developer Portal with a sandbox environment is being created which will allow partner developers to co-create and test their own integrated API system ensuring Heathrow Express ticket sales works seamlessly alongside their own platforms before being launched to customers.

The portal is currently being piloted by Distribusion with an expected full release in the new year. Once this happens, the system will be rolled out to third parties in the trade such as TMCs, ground transfer operators and airlines to integrate Heathrow Express tickets into their booking systems.

Each of the recently launched improvements by Heathrow Express are prompted by the commitment to ensure the process from booking a ticket to travelling is simple and stress-free.

Les Freer, Heathrow Express Director, said: “Rolling out our £5.50 one-way fare across the week means thousands more customers can travel for less with Heathrow Express. Speed and convenience is crucial to Heathrow Express customers who have rated us top in the National Rail Passenger Survey three times in a row and our new website and app delivers on these too. Our continued investment in technology will improve the customer experience for both trade partners and end users making the booking process more personalised, quicker and simpler to use.”

Heathrow Speakers Cards

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UK: Gatwick has published its new five-year Capital Investment Programme (CIP) which highlights more investment in automation and technology as an enabler of sustainable growth. New initiatives include robotic parking and automated boarding technology, which will speed up boarding and give passengers more choice about how they spend their time.

Gatwick’s total investment since 2009, combined with this new five-year plan rises to £3.21 billion. Gatwick now serves 46 million passengers a year, and the airport is committed to exploring how to continue growing sustainably, providing jobs and boosting the local economy.

The single biggest project to be delivered within the next five years is the Pier 6 western extension which will offer over half a million more North Terminal passengers the opportunity to embark and disembark their aircraft via a jetty-served stand, as well as improved gate waiting areas. The design incorporates automated boarding technology which uses biometrics to process passengers through e-gates straight onto the aircraft.  

Several new projects are identified within this CIP, including:

  • Biometric auto-boarding technology development and next phase of testing.
  • Robotic car parking – a trial will begin this autumn in South Terminal offering passengers all the benefits of valet parking, without the need to surrender their keys, and making more efficient use of existing car park space. Robotic car parking is already in place at VINCI Airports’ Lyon-Saint Exupéry airport – the experience of which will aid the introduction of this new service at Gatwick.
  • Railway station development – Gatwick will invest £37 million to complement the £150 million that the Department for Transport has committed to upgrade the station. Work starts in spring 2020 and is expected to take two years.
  • Infrastructure to support greater use of electric and hybrid vehicles by passengers and staff, in particular on the airfield.

The Capital Investment Programme is a rolling five-year plan which is published annually. This allows the CIP to be refreshed regularly as market conditions and operational needs change. It is published on the Gatwick website and can be found here. Last month, Gatwick also published its final master plan setting out how the airport could develop in the most sustainable way over the next 15 years.