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MALAYSIA: Express Rail Link Sdn Bhd (ERL) is collaborating with Visa International (Asia Pacific) to encourage the use of Visa payWave directly at its KLIA Ekspres gates. Getting onboard KLIA Ekspres is faster with contactless transactions, and now all Visa payWave credit and debit cardholders will get to enjoy 15% off their KLIA Ekspres fare when they travel between Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA & KLIA2) and KL Sentral Station.

“We are committed to working with partners that can provide value-added services for the benefit of our passengers. With Visa payWave, they can quickly board the KLIA Ekspres just by tapping their card at the gate without the hassle of queuing to purchase tickets,” said Noormah Mohd Noor, Chief Executive Officer of ERL.

“As the fastest airport transfer in town, this partnership with Visa fits ERL’s mission to provide a seamless travel experience that is fast, reliable, convenient, and now even more affordable,” she added.

Visa payWave is a payment feature that lets customers use their enabled Visa cards or mobile device at the gate or point of sale (POS). The customer simply waves his card or mobile device in front of the secure reader, instead of swiping it or handing it to a cashier.

Said Ng Kong Boon, Visa Country Manager for Malaysia, “Visa payWave is now embraced by Malaysians and we are seeing double digit month-on-month growth for the number of transactions. By enabling contactless acceptance at KLIA Ekspres gates, international Visa payWave cardholders are also able to use their Visa payWave cards when they travel on the trains. We believe more people will embrace the use of their Visa payWave cards with this attractive offer provided by ERL.”

The 15% discount promotion is now running until 31st March 2018, and is only applicable to transactions using Visa payWave cards at the KLIA Ekspres gates. This offer is not valid for ticket purchases at the counter, kiosk and online or for travel on KLIA Transit.

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UK: London Stansted’s new CEO, Ken O’Toole, has called on the Government to put in place a national aviation strategy that not only supports airports to grow but ensures the spare capacity available today is used to generate the biggest positive impact for consumers and the economy.

Speaking to a 500-strong audience of infrastructure experts at the London Infrastructure Summit, Ken O’Toole said a lot more can be done to improve the UK’s connectivity with the rest of the world to ensure it succeeds as an outward-facing trading nation as the country prepares to leave the EU and at a time when airport capacity is at a premium.

Ken O’Toole said:

“The UK is going to need the aviation industry to be at the top of its game over the next 10-15 years to build a prosperous and global Britain. First and foremost, we need to ensure that we make the most productive and efficient use of the capacity we have already.

“We will shortly be applying to raise our planning cap so that we can make full use of our runway. Securing that approval would enable Stansted to meet 50% of London’s expected passenger growth over the next decade, double our economic output to £2 billion and create thousands of new jobs.”
Mr O’Toole went on to stress the importance of rail and road connectivity:

“If we are serious about getting the most from our airports, joined up thinking on road, rail and aviation policies should be a priority for Government.

“In the case of Stansted, a key priority is creating the best possible rail links from the airport to London and Cambridge. Faster journey times will not only expand our reach but also, and most importantly, strengthen our ability to attract the increasing number of long-haul airlines that wish to serve London.

“Stansted offers the 'primary growth opportunity’ in the south over the next 15 years and businesses and passengers will reap the benefits with increased global connectivity, trade opportunities and more choice.”

Mr O’Toole also reiterated industry calls for the reform of Air Passenger Duty. He stated that the UK has the highest rates of aviation taxation of any developed nation, by some margin, which inhibits demand and affects the ability to compete against EU and global competitors for airline capacity.

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UK based passenger experience consultancy Transporting Cities has released three case studies considering passenger journey experience on Heathrow Express, Sydney Airport Link and West Midlands/Birmingham Rail.

For the two air-rail links, Transporting Cities has focused on journey experience for arriving international passengers travelling through the airport onwards to the city rail link, identifying the escape points along the way.

“I would say that the biggest challenge in providing excellent journey experience is recognising that passengers’ assumptions on services are informed by their home systems. In the case of major airports, passengers are arriving from far flung destinations and will interpret rail services differently whereas the user experience has usually been designed by a local planner,” Liam Henderson, Founder of Transporting Cities said, “we come to a system fresh and provide this external viewpoint”.

The assessments assumed the role of a first-time user and were conducted as a walkthrough from plane to train. Beginning at the gate, the route proceeded through the arrivals process into the public arrivals area, before entering the rail station and boarding platform.

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“It was extremely helpful to have an external entity consider the plane to platform path, working with an objective perspective and providing invaluable insight. The report has served in identifying opportunities to test and improve the passenger journey, reaffirming the need to revisit and improve elements that had already been identified historically but had not received license to implement,” Gavin Clare-Campbell, Project Manager - Commercial Sales at Heathrow Express commented.

According to Liam, after receiving feedback from operators he sees that there is more work to be done to advocate for the needs of the passengers who are unfamiliar with the service.

“Making the system accessible for these passengers will increase the overall user experience. I think there is an opportunity for some level of standardisation in information provision across major airports so that a visitor to any global airport can expect to see a familiar guide through to the rail service.”

Liam will be presenting the findings at the annual Global AirRail Conference, taking place in Brussels on 13-14 November. 

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