Alibaba, China’s e-commerce behemoth that listed publicly in New York last year, is teaming up with the Shanghai Airport Authority, operator of both the Pudong and Hongqiao airports, on a new service that will alert passengers in the event of a flight delay – of which the city has many.
Cancelled and delayed flights have long been a regular fact of life at Shanghai’s airports with heavy rains causing the latest round of passenger inconvenience. “The airport authority can do nothing about the flight delays, but is responsible for keeping passengers informed,” said Jing Yiming, the airport authority’s president, adding that the airport is also working closely with airlines and other government institutions, but would not reveal any details on when the service will be available.
The service is set to debut on Alibaba’s online payment platform Alipay. If your flight is delayed a notification will be sent to your phone via Alipay, its online payment platform. It will also provide flight information, allow users to make inquiries and check-in online as well as to provide VIP and airport traffic services.
Alipay may use the model for other partnerships, too. It’s apparently looking to launch an app targeted at people planning to visit the new Shanghai Disney Resort. Through the app, users will be able to buy tickets for both air travel and admission to the theme park.
Li Derun, the airport authority’s board chairman, said Shanghai’s two airports will receive a total five million more passengers each year once the Shanghai Disney Resort opens in spring 2016.