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NS Market Share 2018

Leading passenger transport and operations consultancy North Star, has released its sixth 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 50 million air-rail passenger journeys, which occurred during 2017, from a sample of air-rail operators in Australia, South Africa, Malaysia, China, the United Kingdom, France, Austria, Russia and other locations.

Market share is calculated as the percentage of airport passengers that use each rail service to travel to and/or from the airport and the city centre. Passenger numbers used, exclude airport transit passengers and staff. The market share index sums the collective change in market share on the year-by-year basis, adding it to a baseline figure of 100.

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 for the second consecutive year, North Star’s analysed Market Share index reduced.

“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. On the other hand, our sample operators reported that ongoing road congestion to and from airports remains a compelling reason why passengers choose rail as their preferred transport mode.”

Reflecting on North Star’s sixth 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 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 9 million annual air-rail passenger journeys to Australia’s gateway airport commended on North Star’s report. “It’s very enlightening to read the study and understand what is occurring around the globe. Geographically we are very diverse, but there are many similar challenges and opportunities that we all confront. This report gives us a common bond and communication avenue to expand our businesses.”

From South Africa, Gautrain’s Senior Executive Manager of Communications and Marketing Dr Barbara Jensen echoed a similar response: “It is not only valuable to have an insight into global trends, but it is also valuable to see how Gautrain rates amongst other air rail providers. In addition, the report provides a scientifically sound yet practical review on air rail market share. Definitely a valuable initiative to partner with.”

KLIA Ekspres’ Chief Executive Noormah Mohd Noor added, “The challenges facing us in Kuala Lumpur are similar to those faced by air-rail operators worldwide. However, the initiatives and creative solutions by each operator is different. We strongly believe that we can help one another. The Market Intelligence Report allows this sharing of knowledge, which is what we like and see as the biggest benefit of participating in this report”.

The participants will discuss the report in more detail in London at the Global AirRail London Conference taking place on 27-29 November 2018.

GARA2018 Artwork Sponsors

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ERL x BusOnlineTicket Banner without Price 002

MALAYSIA – Express Rail Link Sdn Bhd (ERL) has partnered with BusOnlineTicket.com (BOT), an online booking portal for bus tickets and other services such as bus and hotel packages, train tickets, ferry tickets, tour packages, airport transfers and hotel promotions. This partnership is aligned with ERL’s mission to provide a seamless service experience that is fast, reliable, comfortable and convenient for travellers. For a limited time only, BOT customers can enjoy a special launch offer.

Speaking on the partnership, Noormah Mohd Noor, Chief Executive Officer of ERL said, “We are proud and excited to be partnering with BOT. This partnership will expand our customer base and reach out to BOT’s customers. Travellers will be able to plan their journey easily and purchase KLIA Ekspres tickets through BOT’s sales channel.”

Sales Director of BOT, Mr. Chong Kok Chuin also added, “This partnership will surely increase the convenience for travellers, especially tourists visiting the country. We can help ERL reach out to key markets outside Malaysia, such as China and Singapore, while offering our customers a quality airport transfer product. Our booking system is very user-friendly and informative. We are delighted to be partnering with ERL and offer the ease of a one-stop online booking portal service to our mutual customers.”

Starting from 19th September 2018 to 31st October 2018, customers will be able to purchase KLIA Ekspres tickets on www.busonlineticket.com and enjoy a special fare of RM48 for a Single Adult Ticket (normal fare RM55).

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AirRailMelbourne CustomerJourney

AUSTRALIA: An Australian pension fund consortium has announced a detailed plan for Melbourne’s long-awaited airport rail link, promising the fastest travel times, a premium around-the-clock service and enhanced access for regional Victorians.

AirRail Melbourne, comprising IFM Investors, Melbourne Airport, Metro Trains Australia and Southern Cross Station, have unveiled its blueprint for the development of the rail link with the Victorian and Australian Governments.
Under the $15 billion plan, AirRail Melbourne is proposing to match the $5 billion funding announced by both the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments to build a world-class link that unlocks additional rail capacity and creates thousands of new jobs.
 
"As Melbourne marches toward becoming Australia’s largest city our infrastructure needs to keep pace. Key to this is the development of the airport and all its elements to cope with a near doubling of passengers over the next 20 years. As we expand our runways and terminal facilities we also need world-class linkages between the airport and the city. Our vision is for a seamless passenger experience at the airport, properly integrated between the train carriage and the terminal, Melbourne Airport chief executive officer Lyell Strambi said.”

The airport rail link would offer 20 minute travel time to the city, with trains running 24/7 with 10 minute intervals during peak periods. One way ticket is estimated to cost less than $20 in today's prices.

If the plan is approved, the construction could start in late 2020.

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London Luton Airport Vision

UK: The Department for Transport issued the Invitation to Tender for the East Midlands rail franchise, connecting East Midlands and London Luton Airports.

The franchise set outs goals to deliver brand new fleet of trains, more seats for passengers, reduced peak journey times between Nottingham, Sheffield and London and a dedicated, high quality, express service between Corby and London. Other improvements include better compensation for delays, smart ticketing, high quality wi-fi connection, more frequent and increased capacity on local services and services that start earlier and finish later.

The Invitation to Tender specifically mention that bidders for the franchise should include initiatives that will improve rail's modal share for surface access to and from East Midlands Airport and London Luton Airport, in particular by operating appropriate earlier and later services to and from those airports.

London Luton Airport (LLA) has been calling for more fast trains to stop at the airport under the new franchise and is pleased that the ITT included those specification.
 
LLA currently has the lowest modal share of passengers using rail transport of any London airport and increasing the number of trains serving the airport will help address this, without the need for additional capital expenditure. It will also help LLA reach its full capacity, easing the capacity crisis in the South East.

Nick Barton, CEO of London Luton Airport, said: “It’s great to see the DfT has recognised the importance of improving rail’s modal share to London Luton and East Midlands airports. Improving air rail links is essential to overcoming the capacity crisis. LLA currently has the lowest modal share of any London airport, which is a limiting factor on our ability to meet the ever growing demand for air travel in the South East.
 
“The most efficient and cost-effective way of increasing modal share is to increase the frequency of trains which stop at Luton Airport Parkway to four per hour. This can be achieved at no additional cost, yet the benefits which it will bring to London and the UK are huge. This new franchise is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to improve rail services for passengers and address the UK’s aviation capacity crunch. I urge all the bidders to make the most of it.”

 

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RUSSIA: Aeroexpress launched an Artificial Intelligence (AI) bot named Andrey to provide primary support online for customers using frequently asked questions service.

The bot has been developed by the Russian company Just AI, a part of the i-Free Group, which specialises in artificial intelligence technologies.

Without any assistance from an operator, Andrey provides comprehensive answers to frequently asked questions, thereby taking care of 72% of inquiries. The bot advises passengers about how to buy train tickets in order to travel to the airport, the time of the nearest train service, and the conditions of carriage. It can explain where the required terminal is situated and how long a ride with Aeroexpress will take.

Andrey understands the natural speech rather than offers to select menu items. For example, if asked “How long does it take for a ticket to be delivered to the email?” the bot will figure out that an e-ticket is meant and will reply that it is usually sent within a few seconds. It will also understand if a customer is interested in some special fares or baggage transportation conditions. All of this is possible thanks to artificial intelligence. Just AI in close cooperation with Aeroexpress specialists working with inquiries, continues improving it by teaching the bot questions based on information generally contained in enquiries. Even now, according to users’ feedback and estimates, the answers provided by the virtual consultant are complete and useful over 60% of the time.

The online consultant was launched in November 2017, making it possible to significantly decrease the call centre load and increase the speed of serving Aeroexpress passengers. Hotline costs have been reduced by 17%. Since being put into operation, Andrey has already handled 21,000 inquiries, and this number keeps growing month by month.

In March, approximately 9,000 website users directed their questions to the bot, which is double the amount compared to the first month of service.