Letter from Calin Rovinescu, President and CEO: Pay as You Go
Oct 01, 2018

New methods of digital payment are transforming almost every type of transaction – and, at Air Canada, making global travel even more convenient.

The phenomenal rise of digital wallets and electronic payment methods is putting a new spin on the old saying “have money, will travel.” To keep ahead of these developments, Air Canada is significantly investing in technology to accept alternative forms of payment so that our customers can keep travelling conveniently.

Around the world, digital payment methods are rivalling or outstripping conventional forms of payment, such as credit or debit cards. One recent report said the Chinese mobile apps Alipay and WeChat Pay are now processing 10 to 11 times more mobile payment transactions than in the United States as a whole. Many experts predict alternative payment forms will reshape the way customers shop online, including for travel, the world over.

In anticipation of this and to be sure we stay ahead of the curve, last fall Air Canada began accepting Alipay and WeChat Pay in China, along with several other popular global alternative payment systems in such countries as Germany, the Netherlands and Australia. These proved wildly popular – such payments grew some 300 percent – moving us to recently expand acceptance of Alipay and WeChat Pay to include Hong Kong and North America.

These new technologies also advance our global ambitions, since customers around the world will now be better able to purchase tickets using their preferred local payment method. As well, they serve our goal of increased customer convenience, with alternative payment methods on any type of device making the transaction process frictionless.

As with all things digital, we are only at the dawn of a transformative era. To capture its benefits, we are strategizing and developing partnerships with cutting-edge tech firms, brainstorming new features and exploring how related technologies, notably blockchain, can be used to better engage and serve our customers.

Air Canada has long been a leader in innovation, particularly with respect to customer care, something recognized last month at the Airline Passenger Experience Association’s annual Expo in Boston. Our goal is to continue to innovate to improve our services so customers can interact with us as easily as possible in the way that suits them – and that is a commitment you can take to the bank.

Calin’s column appears every month in enRoute Magazine, Air Canada’s award-winning in-flight magazine found onboard all Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge and Air Canada Express flights. This edition is from the October 2018 issue.