How can an airline justify a massive, expensive project coming off the absolute worst year the aviation industry ever experienced? For Azul CEO John Rodgerson, the answer was easy. “The way I look at it is when we invite somebody on board the aircraft we want them to feel as if they’re at home.” And today that at-home experience means access to fast, free, internet connectivity.
In a conversation with PaxEx.Aero Rodgerson explains Azul’s connectivity offering launched last month as an extension of the company’s long-term focus on the passenger experience and net promoter score (NPS) driving profitability. “We track our NPS scores. My bonus is based on NPS scores. And I believe that margin will take care of itself. If my customers really like me, my customers will take care of my shareholders. And that’s how we’ve always thought about it.”
Rodgerson is also clear that once the company committed to the expense of fitting its aircraft, the decision to make it free for everyone was an easy one:
We talked to some of our peers in the United States and the guys that give away for free is an unbelievable experience. If they charge the user rate is so low; it is a waste. People just want to be want to be connected and so we want to make sure that that experience is available to our customers.
Whether it is a pure marketing play or hopes of third-party eCommerce companies helping subsidize the costs, Rodgerson is optimistic about the value proposition of free wifi on board, even if it directly is a cost center to the company today. Given the carrier’s position in the Brazil market, we should soon find out how well that really works.
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