Ethiopian Airlines launches two new digital payment methods to serve Chinese and Middle Eastern markets
Ethiopian Airlines, the largest aviation group in Africa and 4-star SkyTrax certified global airline, is expanding its partnership with CellPoint Digital, a provider of digital commerce and payment solutions for airlines, to offer more popular payment methods to its passengers.
Last year, Ethiopian Airlines adopted CellPoint's Velocity payment platform to implement a mobile-first payment strategy and create a more seamless customer experience in its mobile app. Ethiopian Airlines initially added Alipay and saw promising growth in bookings through its mobile app in some markets. Ethiopian Airlines is now introducing WeChat Pay and KNET to cater to the international travel market.
China is set to displace the United States as the world's largest aviation market by the mid-2020s and is a key growth market for Ethiopian Airlines. Millions of Chinese tourists use Alipay and WeChat Pay to make travel purchases, and together these two alternative forms of payment cover more than 90% of the Chinese market.
Currently, Ethiopian Airlines is seeking to better serve Chinese travellers by introducing WeChat Pay alongside its Alipay option.
Ethiopian Airlines is also looking to expand into the Middle East region, which IATA predicts to grow annually by 4.4%. The region has a growing population of young, tech-savvy travellers who want to pay quickly and easily using a familiar payment method.
To cater to Kuwaiti passengers, Ethiopian Airlines will now accept KNET, the most popular local payment option.
"As we expand into new markets, we want to ensure the payment process on our mobile app is as seamless as possible for our passengers," said Miretab Teklaye, Digital Director of Ethiopian Airlines. "Working with CellPoint Digital as our technology partner allows us to quickly add new payment methods to meet the needs of consumers in these regions. The introduction of WeChat Pay and KNET is the first of many new payment methods we plan to roll out, as we look to expand further into the Middle East, India and Europe."
WeChat Pay and KNET are being deployed for Ethiopian Airlines through CellPoint Digital's Velocity payment platform – a full merchant-side payment control environment built specifically for the travel industry.
Velocity enables airlines and travel companies to activate new, alternative forms of payment in weeks instead of months and to build a customized payment ecosystem that meets the needs of customers in specific markets.
"Ethiopian Airlines is committed to providing the best possible digital experience for their customers, and our Velocity payment platform can introduce rapidly any global wallet or local payment method Ethiopian needs for their mobile app or other digital channel," said Ciaran Wilson, Senior Sales and Account Director for MEA at CellPoint Digital. "We look forward to growing alongside Ethiopian Airlines, helping them to eliminate payment friction in all their markets."
CellPoint Digital partners with African carriers across the continent to increase conversions in the mobile channel, reduce fraud, boost revenue through flights and ancillary offers, and create more seamless payment experiences for their customers.