Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Alibaba are collaborating to enhance the customer experience for travellers through the "transformative potential of technology," as well as joining forces in other areas. The collaboration encompasses several players in Alibaba Group’s ecosystem including Fliggy, Alibaba Cloud, Alipay and Cainiao Network.
The partnership extends across areas such as flight ticket sales, loyalty programmes, marketing initiatives, cloud services, payments and logistics. The capabilities of both groups, combined with access to the more than 600 million monthly active mobile users on Alibaba’s China retail marketplaces alone, will unlock new benefits for customers across the retail and travel value chains. SIA and Alibaba Group will gain actionable customer insights for the benefit of travellers in one of the world’s fastest growing travel markets.
The tie-up represents a significant extension of a partnership between SIA and Alibaba Group’s affiliate, Alipay, which was introduced as a payment option on SIA’s website in 2013. In 2016, an official SIA flagship store was also launched on what was then known as Alitrip (later rebranded “Fliggy”), Alibaba’s travel service platform, for direct purchase of SIA flight tickets by consumers in China.
Building on those initiatives, the expanded partnership reflects the seamless convergence of online and offline retail experiences in a digital-first reality. The approach is a natural fit with both SIA’s position as one of the world’s leading airlines and its focus on innovating the customer experience through digital.
“Amid structural changes in our industry, we have been making significant steps to ensure we meet new competitive challenges and deliver on our brand promise to customers. Enhancing our digital capabilities is one of our priorities, and our partnership with Alibaba Group will be an important element in our drive to be a digital aviation leader. Through Alibaba Group’s advanced digital assets and keen insights of Chinese consumer behaviour, we will be able to better understand the needs of our customers and develop more innovative travel solutions to help them explore the world,” said Mak Swee Wah, Singapore Airlines' EVP of commercial.
Later this year, KrisFlyer and Fliggy will introduce two-way points conversion, allowing members to enjoy membership perks from both loyalty programmes. KrisFlyer members will be able to convert their KrisFlyer miles to Fliggy points, and Fliggy members will be able to convert their Fliggy points to KrisFlyer miles.
SIA and Fliggy also intend to explore further opportunities to sync their respective loyalty programmes and to drive cross-promotion of membership services. In addition, eligible Fliggy members at certain loyalty programme tiers will be able to earn KrisFlyer Elite Silver or Gold status.
Accompanying privileges could include tier bonuses on actual miles flown, priority reservation waitlist, seat selection privileges and priority baggage handling. Fliggy members who achieve KrisFlyer Elite Gold status can also receive benefits from the entire Star Alliance network, the world’s largest airline alliance.
The collaboration is also expected to cover the following areas:
- SIA and Alipay, the world's largest mobile and online payment platform operated by Ant Financial, will work on extending Alipay acceptance beyond flight purchases to also cover in-flight products and services, airport services, retail merchandise and ancillary touchpoints.
- Together with Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group, SIA will explore how its IT ecosystem – from web hosting to apps and membership systems – can benefit from Alibaba Cloud’s global network. This includes the strong coverage of Alibaba Cloud’s data centres and its capabilities in managing aviation-related resourcing needs through ET Brain, Alibaba Cloud’s proprietary AI programme.
- SIA will work closely with Cainiao Network, the logistics arm of Alibaba Group, to enhance international air cargo services, joining Cainiao Network’s broader efforts in building a global smart logistics network that delivers across China within 24 hours and globally within 72 hours.
Angel Zhao, president of Alibaba Global Business Group, VP of Alibaba Group and president of Fliggy, said “We have important capabilities and experiences to offer, based on valuable insights gained from serving the world’s largest group of online consumers. The lessons we have learned in helping to transform e-commerce and drive important initiatives like New Retail will help drive our partnership with Singapore Airlines and provide our consumers with higher-quality global travel services. This strategic collaboration will mark a new chapter in our complementary relationship, as we share resources and cooperate with each other to create a new digital service experience for consumers.”