Cargo Airline Maneuvers COVID-19 Demand Spike

Overview

One of the world’s largest cargo airlines embarked on its digital transformation with PROS in 2018 on the eve of its 50th year in business. Through this partnership, the airline sought to create a smoother booking process, enhance the customer experience, and deliver on its pricing strategy. “We should be prepared for the next 50 years of our journey,” says the carrier’s senior vice president of commercial planning. This timing proved serendipitous as the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the world just a year later.

Challenge

Much of the world’s air cargo is transported in the belly holds of passenger aircraft. However, most passenger flights had been suspended due to travel restrictions and lower demand in response to COVID-19. This reduced global airfreight capacity created a spike in demand for the cargo airline’s services, which could not have been managed without PROS pricing science automating the sales experience. By March 2020, airfreight demand exceeded even that of the typical end-of-year peak season.

Solution

The cargo airline entered the digital era in August 2019 with the launch of its new online booking tool, powered by PROS pricing and CPQ solutions. The tools were rolled out across the airline’s entire enterprise in Europe, Asia, and the U.S. The revamped revenue management system based on PROS pricing and selling solutions offers capacity management, dynamic pricing optimization, and free-sale quoting and bookings. The next phase will enhance automation capabilities with customer self-service.

 “We wanted to develop something more state of the art in the business,” the senior vice president says. “Mainly, we wanted to be more proactive in knowing our customer better and have all the possible tools in order to be able to analyze all the data that is now available."

PROS equips the airfreight carrier with several operational efficiencies:

  • Put sales team in charge of price negotiation
  • Guided quote creation
  • Guided surcharges and services offer
  • Simplified “quote to book” approval process
  • Dynamic pricing guidance based on real time inventory and forecast
  • Access to quote statistics and reports (through CRM integration)

Results

With PROS solutions, the cargo airline had the resilience, scalability, and quoting velocity to effectively manage the unprecedented surge in airfreight demand.

In March 2020, the airline generated almost twice as many quotes and booked nearly three times as many quotes compared to February 2020. Furthermore, the airline topped 1,000 bookings in a single day in March.

The airfreight carrier’s inside sales team realized process efficiencies as well:

  • Quotes requiring approval reduced from 80% to 50%
  • 75% reduction in email correspondence needed for approvals, freeing capacity to further develop business

Conclusion

Equipped with PROS pricing science, the cargo airline has been able to navigate this particularly turbulent period in the air cargo industry with relative ease. If the carrier can weather this storm, its next 50 years in business will be smooth sailing.

What’s more, the carrier has been able to fly above and beyond as a global citizen during these unprecedented times:

  • Brought a temporary hospital to its home country with capacity for 200 beds and 100 respirators
  • Delivered medical supplies to neighboring countries on multiple occasions and donated supplies to China

The airline’s resounding success with PROS thus far catapults the airline into the next phases of its digital transformation with the ultimate goal of optimizing IT capacity with customer self-service and instant quoting and booking.

Learn more about the advantages of PROS smart science in the Transportation & Logistics industry.

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