Flybe to launch mobile boarding passes

10 Feb 2010 by BusinessTraveller

Flybe plans to introduce mobile phone check-in later this year and warned that the tactic of growing revenue through ancillary sales may attract the attention of legislators.

Speaking at the Business Travel and Meetings Show in London, Flybe chief commercial officer Mike Rutter said the next swathe of new services to be offered by airlines would be mobile phone-based.

“I think we will lend towards 90 percent mobile check-in,” he said.

Systems are currently being developed which will match a bar code sent to the passenger’s mobile that can be scanned at the airport. Heathrow Express is already using a similar application. Rutter said there would be no direct charge for the service but that Flybe would share revenue from phone companies. Flybe hopes to introduce mobile scanning in the second half of 2010.

Rutter said ancillary sales made up 18 percent of the airline’s revenue but added that the company wanted “no more than 20 percent” of its sales from extras.

“There needs to be a balance, if you get much beyond 20 percent, the consumer will no longer see it as a choice, they will see it as forced. That will probably lead to regulation.”

Ryanair is thought to earn 30 percent of revenue from ancillaries if fees from checked bags are included and Rutter warned 2010 may see regulation from Brussels over some aspects of budget airline sales tactics.

“In Europe, some fairly high level regulators, as a result of the behaviour of one or two, are likely to put pressure on credit and debit card charges and what some call the ‘unavoidable’ costs of making a booking,” he said.

“My guess is we will see the first outputs of that next year. I think that’s unfortunate, if there had been restraint, perhaps we would not have been in this situation.”

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Report by Gary Noakes

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