Ryanair's Bellew warns airlines over tech
Ryanair chief operations officer Peter Bellew has a stark warning for airlines that are dragging their feet on introducing better data-sharing technology that helps drive digital sales: get on board or watch the tech community "eat your lunch".
The former Malaysia Airlines CEO returned to his old employer Ryanair last year, during a period of stress for the low-cost carrier.
It had been forced to cancel thousands of flights because of pilot rostering and other issues before Bellew was coaxed back to Dublin.
Bellew said that even though industry body IATA - of which Ryanair is not a member - was pushing for adoption of API technology by up to 75pc of airlines by 2020, many carriers around Europe were dragging their feet.
The technology, which is used extensively in many other sectors, allows for the sharing of information between different companies' computer systems and can be used to facilitate innovative ways for airlines to allow the use of fares, availability and other information. "API is not new and it's not such a big deal to do," said Bellew.
"I don't know why it has been so slow. Elon Musk will probably have men on Mars by 2020. The problem is, we start thinking it is acceptable to have these things ready by 2020. If we don't get our heads around it, everyone else - from Amazon and Facebook - to Apple, will eat our lunch."
He added that airlines could find themselves competing with apps made "by guys in a dormitory in California".
Bellew said that Ryanair - which said it wants to become "the Amazon of travel" - and Willie Walsh-led IAG (which owns Aer Lingus) were both well ahead of their competitors when it came to the use of such technology.
A long-expected plan that would see Ryanair feed passengers from around Europe into Aer Lingus transatlantic services at Dublin should be operational before the end of the year, Bellew added.
Sunday Indo Business