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Case study

How Aer Lingus Transformed Its Payments Infrastructure for the Modern Passenger

Travel

Challenge

Aer Lingus wanted to offer its customers the ability to pay using the latest payment methods, such as Apple Pay and the airline’s loyalty scheme currency. However, its existing infrastructure was incompatible with new technologies leaving it unable to offer many digital payment methods.

Outcome

We supported Aer Lingus to develop a bespoke payments hub which allowed it to introduce new payment methods and connect with multiple payment service providers. Without replacing its existing infrastructure, the airline can now offer customers a range of different payment options.

Aer Lingus, Ireland’s flag carrier airline, operates more than 100 routes to Europe, the United Kingdom and North America, flying 11 million guests each year. To cater for its large international customer base, the airline recognised the importance of keeping pace with rising demand for digital payments. However, its existing passenger service system (PSS) dates back to 1968 and is incompatible with newer payment technologies, including Avios, the loyalty scheme currency issued by the airline’s parent company, International Airlines Group (IAG). 

 

Replacing the PSS wholesale was out of the question. Instead, Aer Lingus needed a software solution that would make it compatible with a modern payment stack. The airline turned to us to help support its digital transformation and enhance the customer experience.

Turning old into gold

Offering a wide choice of payment methods is an increasingly important aspect of creating a frictionless customer experience. Research shows that when booking a trip, almost 30% of travellers will choose another airline if they cannot see their preferred payment method on offer.

 

Our challenge was to enable Aer Lingus to onboard new payment methods using its existing PSS, while maintaining full compliance with GDPR and PCI data regulation.

 

To close the compatibility gap, we developed a bespoke payments hub. This was designed to quickly plug into the existing PSS and allow it to connect with multiple payment service providers (PSPs). To achieve this, our team optimised the PSS’s core functions and decluttered its payment information cache. The payments hub then consolidated all payment-related processes into one system.

 

Once in place, we began by adding Apple Pay, before onboarding other payment methods including Google Pay, PayPal and Avios loyalty tokens. It then became the first airline globally to add Revolut Pay, allowing customers to complete the checkout process in a single click.

Reaping the rewards of modern payments

Thanks to our collaboration, Aer Lingus can now offer customers a wide range of payment methods. Passengers can now pay in the tap of a screen from their mobile devices using conventional currencies or loyalty points. 

 

The airline also has visibility of all payment data in one place. Custom reports allow quick, at-a-glance identification of the highest-value payment methods and currencies. Refunds are easier to process and inbuilt fraud-detection functionality keeps data safe. 

  

Dave O’Donovan, Aer Lingus’ Chief Digital and Information Officer said: “Together, we developed an innovative platform that delivers variety of new payment solutions, reduces the cost of payment processing and provides better functionality for end-users, our valued guests.”  

 

These crucial building blocks have also opened the door to new revenue streams for the airline. The newly integrated technologies allow Aer Lingus to explore ancillary offerings and future expansions of its business model, which in turn, will continue to enhance the customer experience.

 

Turning old into gold

Offering a wide choice of payment methods is an increasingly important aspect of creating a frictionless customer experience. Research shows that when booking a trip, almost 30% of travellers will choose another airline if they cannot see their preferred payment method on offer.

 

Our challenge was to enable Aer Lingus to onboard new payment methods using its existing PSS, while maintaining full compliance with GDPR and PCI data regulation.

 

To close the compatibility gap, we developed a bespoke payments hub. This was designed to quickly plug into the existing PSS and allow it to connect with multiple payment service providers (PSPs). To achieve this, our team optimised the PSS’s core functions and decluttered its payment information cache. The payments hub then consolidated all payment-related processes into one system.

 

Once in place, we began by adding Apple Pay, before onboarding other payment methods including Google Pay, PayPal and Avios loyalty tokens. It then became the first airline globally to add Revolut Pay, allowing customers to complete the checkout process in a single click.

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