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Airline Voice Radio Podcast, Episode 13: Distribution revolution or evolution? with Jiri Marek, Air Serbia

Accelya’s Jim Davidson continues the “Reaching New Heights” series with Jiri Marek, Air Serbia’s CEO. The airline is celebrating 95 years in operations this year, making it the world’s eighth oldest carrier.

In a career spanning more than 20 years, Jiri has worked in many airline roles such as sales, distribution, and ancillary revenue. Jiri is a firm believer that distribution needs to transform, but you’ll have to listen to the podcast to see if he thinks a revolution or an evolution would work best.

“There is always value in any business or airline. When you want to transform to something new, it’s always better to build on what you already have, and what you already know, rather than completely cutting something out and starting completely new”, Jiri Marek, CEO, Air Serbia.

One of the pandemic’s long-lasting effects is the realization that airlines have to be more flexible and faster to react to opportunities. Air Serbia’s demand changed from the typical winter and summer seasons to more last-minute sales with a reduced booking window of eight to ten days. In this reduced window, 80% of bookings happen in the last eight days; on some routes, this is even reduced to 72 hours. This means that planning becomes short-term, and capacity is adjusted based on a daily review of the booking developments per route.

In this podcast, you’ll hear about:

  • Airline disciplines such as revenue management, e-commerce, and ancillary revenue are already benefitting from technology advances. What’s missing is a technological bridge to bring those departments together to give users a better end-to-end retailing experience.
  • Collaboration and best practice sharing will be the key to success in the future for the airline industry.
  • The “new normal” is a quest for stability, but the market will always be volatile and dynamic. That’s why it’s better for airlines to be flexible and nimble rather than hoping for a stability that may never come.

Airline Voice Radio is available on your favorite podcast player such as Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts. Tune in soon to get more insights from airline leaders.

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