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North Star deal renews interest in through-ticketing

promotional picture   North Star, the leading air rail consultancy, is in discussions with new airline customers for bespoke through-ticketing projects following the successful launch of Oyster cards on all Air Southwest flights into London City Airport.

The company, which advises operators and other related businesses on strategy, start-up operations, sales and marketing and service delivery of air rail links, said the success of the Air Southwest project had already led to talks with other airlines.

North Star was appointed by Plymouth-based regional airline Air Southwest to broker the in-flight sale of Visitor Oyster cards on all its flights into London City Airport, allowing customers to buy pre-paid travel cards that give access to London’s public transport network without having to buy individual tickets.

Air Southwest is the only operator into London City to offer the service.

The airline wanted a seamless through-ticketing operation to maximise time savings for its customers and capitalise on London City’s excellent rail links - nearly one in two of the airport’s customers arrive and leave using the Docklands Light Railway, the highest ratio of any airport in the world.

North Star worked with Air Southwest and its in-flight retailers Skypartners, together with London City Airport, Transport for London and the Docklands Light Railway to broker the deal, integrate systems and help promote it to customers.

Andy Todd, North Star's Strategy and Operations Director, said: “Our own published research on attitudes to through-ticketing around the world shows that operators recognise the clear benefits for customers but there are a number of perceived barriers, including technical integration.

“From our 100,000 hours of experience working on air rail links we know that many of these barriers can be overcome simply by bringing all parties together and working towards a common solution. That’s exactly what we did with Air Southwest to meet both the airline and customer needs, and we expect other operators into London City to look at similar arrangements.”

Mike Coombes, Commercial Director at Air Southwest, said: “North Star has delivered a bespoke through ticketing project for Air Southwest and we benefited from Andy’s contacts at TfL and his organisational and people skills to bring together a number of companies to deliver the project both on-time and within budget.

“The project was all about enhancing the customer experience and getting it delivered quickly. That is something North Star knows all about, getting things done and delivering a tangible benefit.”

Tricia Handley, Marketing Director at London City Airport, said: “London City is very proud of its environmental record and North Star has helped promote the use of public transport.”

Speed of travel through airports is one of North Star’s ‘Nine Golden Rules’ to enhance the customer experience and grow traffic through regional airports.

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