Ethiopian Airlines happens to be the largest and most profitable airline company on the African continent, and recently announced plans to become a mobile-only operation. The company’s Mobile Short Message Service (SMS) information system launched at the end of November 2014, and provides customers with easy access to flight information and cargo tracking.
Customers simply send a mobile short code SMS text to the 8611 messaging number to receive cargo information and check flight status. Part of Ethiopian Airlines’ ‘Mobility’ project, customers can access vital information instantly while on the road. The Mobility project is designed so customers can perform transactions directly from their mobile devices, whether booking flights, checking in, choosing seats and more.
The Mobility campaign also makes it possible for those welcoming passengers on Ethiopian flights to to check exact arrival times of flights by texting 8611 with “f” followed by the flight number or “r” followed by the expected route. Cargo customers may track shipments by texting “c” followed by their Air Way Bill number of shipment. Such customers no longer have to visit the Ethiopian Airlines Cargo terminal before the shipment arrives, and texting “i” or “help” accesses system guidelines.
The airline is also working to further streamline their customer service experience by adding more features to their mobile SMS service.
“Ethiopian is first and foremost a customer service organization,” says Tewolde Gebremariam, Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian Airlines. “We are continuously looking at ways and means of availing to our customers the best possible travel experience both on the ground and on- board. In today’s digital era, customers want to have access to real-time and personalized information at the tip of their fingers using mobile devices. The launching of this SMS service is only the beginning of a grandiose plan to use a new system called “Mobility” which is mobile digital channels for enhancing customer experience.”
Ethiopian Airlines received the Passenger Choice award for the Best Airline in Africa in August 2014 following a highly-extensive survey of passengers in the industry. A global Pan-African carrier, Ethiopian currently serves 84 international destinations on five continents. Current aircraft technology, including B777s and B787s, is used on the airline’s some 200 daily flights.
Will Ethiopian succeed in becoming a mobile-only operation? And if so, will other airlines follow suit? In today’s increasingly mobile-driven market, it’s entirely possible, and could up the customer service convenience factor considerably.