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CAPSE: Exclusive Interview with Philip Capps, Head of Product Strategy& Development, Qantas

Last Updated (Beijing Time):2019-02-19   Source:China Aviation Daily
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As one of the most popular destinations for travel and study abroad among Chinese, in recent years, Australia has seen a steady increase in the number of Chinese tourists. Last year, China has leapfrogged New Zealand for the first time to become the top source country for travelers to Australia. As one of the main carriers of the China-Australia route, Qantas has continuously improved its products and services based on the habits and needs of Chinese travelers to provide Chinese passengers with better travel experience. Recently, Philip Capps, head of product strategy& development, Qantas, gave a detailed introduction to Qantas about how does Qantas deepen its brand image in the Chinese market during CAPSE's interview.

CAPSE: After Qantas entered the Chinese market, how was the service adjusted based on the Chinese market and passenger demand?

Philip Capps: Now Qantas has direct flight between China and Australia for 40 flights per week, connecting Sydney, Australia's largest port city, Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong. With the code share services launched by Qantas, China Eastern and China Southern, Qantas offers more than 130 flights per week between China and Australia. Chinese tourists can also take Qantas flights via Sydney to more than 30 destinations in Australia and New Zealand.

Since entering the Chinese market, according to the needs of Chinese passengers, Qantas has made corresponding adjustments and upgrades in both hardware and software services. In 2016, Qantas launched a special Chinese edition of bi-annual aircraft magazine Qantas, which provides travel inspiration, destination guides & information and news of Qantas Group.

In order to expand the Chinese market, Qantas also opened Weibo, WeChat and YouTube official accounts to communicate with Chinese travelers and tailored the information promotion platform to deliver the latest news of Qantas and destination information according to the characteristics of Chinese market.

Australia is one of the world's leading wine producers, and Australian wines are generally favored by Chinese consumers. As Australia's national airline, Qantas cannot provide unique service without the help of wine.

CAPSE: According to CAPSE's Passenger Satisfaction Survey, the exquisite in-flight meal is one of the characteristics of Qantas' international routes. In addition to the delicious in-flight dishes, the air sommelier of Qantas will also recommend famous wine and champagne for tourists. Could you please introduce Qantas' drinks and sommelier services to CPASE?

Philip Capps: Qantas has always integrated outstanding quality into the details of its services, as well as the selection of wines. Every year more than 25 million Australian dollars are spent on Australian wine, and up to two million bottles of wine are used for all flights and VIP services.

Qantas also built an industry-leading elite team Qantas Rockpool Sommeliers which composed of 16 experienced sommeliers and bartenders, including one from the only two Master Sommeliers in Australia. The sommelier team creates a cellar in air with a wide variety of high-quality wine for the passengers of Qantas via collecting various special wine from famous production areas with different brewing techniques in Australia. This captures the picky taste buds of countless passengers.

There are also a series of selection processes for the Australian wines served in First Class, Business Class and Lounge. The Qantas Rockpool Sommeliers needs to select 250 wines with unique flavor and excellent quality from over 1300 wines by blind tasting. These wines are available in Qantas domestic and international flights as well as VIP lounges. The wine list in First Class is updated according to the menu provided each day, and in business class & economy class, it will also be updated regularly to ensure that each passenger can taste more varieties of pure Australia wine.

Qantas' cabin sommelier service is also a highlight. Instead of simply printing the name of the wine on paper, we choose to provide suitable wine dictated by professional sommeliers, depending on the cabin situation and passengers' choices. Now more than 300 flight attendants have passed the systematic training and become professional air sommeliers, serving the business class and first class of Qantas international routes. At the same time, more than 2,000 flight attendants have completed primary, secondary and advanced training in wine knowledge which can help the passengers to better understand Australia's prestigious wine.

CAPSE: Is there any difference between Chinese and foreigners in wine appreciation? In addition to Australian wines, are there any other Chinese characteristics of catering offered on Qantas route to/from China?

Philip Capps: Generally speaking, compared with the conservative taste of wines from the traditional wine-growing areas such as France, the New World wines have a more unrestrained taste towards a fruitier style. This is mainly caused by the climate of origins. As a famous production place for the New World wines, Australia has a totally different climate from that in Europe, where the hotter climate makes wines more unrestrained and fruitier. As CAPSE said, Chinese passengers have a preference for Australian wines, and the fruitier Australian wines are more suitable for Chinese taste.

Catering offered by Qantas has always been well received. For every business class passenger in our international flight, you can enjoy the delicacy in season specially prepared by the team of Neil Perry, Creative Director of Food and Services, which will include fried noodles and fried rice in flights to/from China to meet the needs of Chinese travelers. Besides, we provide Tsingtao Beer as well as other local food and beverage in flights departing from China.

CAPSE: How does Qantas Frequent Flyer recruit new members and motivate members usually? Is there a special membership policy in China?

Philip Capps: Qantas Frequent Flyer is a customer loyalty product. Members can earn and build up their Qantas Points and Status Credits by flying with Qantas or our partners and affiliates, as well as consumption at our partners. You could use your Qantas Points to pay for products and services or an upgrade.

In China, Qantas has established a long-term and stable partnership with China Eastern Airlines. Members of Qantas Frequent Flyer will earn Qantas Points by booking a ticket on Qantas website, no matter the flight is operated by Qantas or China Eastern Airlines. Meanwhile, frequent flyers of China Eastern Airlines could directly pay for flights on Qantas website using their points.

CAPSE: How does Qantas Frequent Flyer maintain member loyalty through activities such as class upgrades and VIP lounge services?

Philip Capps: Qantas membership levels range from Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum to Platinum One. Each level can enjoy corresponding benefits including ticket reservation, free seat selection, free access to the VIP lounge, additional baggage check, etc. Also, Qantas frequent flyers enjoy certain levels of benefits of other One World member airlines.

CAPSE: Recently, Qantas has announced expansion on its global VIP lounge upgrade program. Could you introduce more details about the upgrade?

Philip Capps: Qantas understands that the airport lounge is an important factor affacting passenger experience, which is also a way to fully demonstrate airlines' feedback to frequent flyers and high-end passengers. Qantas has gradually updated its VIP lounge over the past few years. The recent upgrade program aims to further enhance passengers' travel experience.

To meet the needs of more and more passengers for high-end experience, Qantas will expand the space and capacity of multiple VIP lounges around the world, as well as increase more catering choices and local design element. Whether the luxurious environment created by professional designers or the special catering designed by Neil Perry, it will bring an unparalleled high-end experience to passengers.

We hope that our VIP lounges will bring distinguished services and a homelike experience to travelers around the world.

Contributed by CAPSE

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