What makes airBaltic’s “hybrid” airline model so successful? Interview with CCO Tero Taskila
Once in a while, I come across an innovative airline which is lead by executives who love to think out of the box. Last year, it was AirAsia that left me stunned. Now, it’s airBaltic. During my recent trip to Athens, Greece, I met up with Tero Taskila, the Chief Commercial Officer of the airline who was previously leading Strategy at Gulf Air.
I had been looking forward to interacting with him for some time now, and upon meeting him face to face, I can only confirm that he seems to be a very intelligent executive who’s not afraid to try new things to bring profitability to his airline.
For example, traditionally a point-to-point carier, and now a “hybrid”, Latvia’s national airline airBaltic launched an Internet shop in December 2009 – airBalticOutlet.com. Customers can purchase leading branded goods for lower prices, with delivery on board an airplane. The products include perfumery, cosmetics, accessories, sweets, and airBaltic and Latvian souvenirs. How’s that for innovation?
In my conversation with Tero, he spoke at length about the following issues and revaled what makes airBaltic so successful. (Click here if you’re unable to watch the video interview)
- What is the “hybrid” airline model? (0:45)
- How costs are kept low despite legacy airline facilities? (1:05)
- Why a hub in Riga, Lativia naturally helps the airline? (1:47)
- How airBaltic achieved 450% growth in online sales in Finland (2:17)
- How brand awareness was translated into ticket sales (3:14)
- How airBaltic has leveraged social media branding successfully for sales (4:54)
- How airBaltic deals with negative sentiments on social media (5:52)
- How airBaltic is looking to re-invent loyalty programs in 2010 (6:52)
So, what do you think about airBaltic’s success? Is it repeatable? Isn’t it refreshing to learn about such a visionary effort in gloomy times? Let’s discuss in the comments or over on Twitter (@simpliflying)