US Airways works to catch up to its peers with mobile app launch

April 25, 2013

Ambiance, Services

US Airways small US Airways works to catch up to its peers with mobile app launch PHOENIX: US Airways admits it lags behind its peers in mobile technology, but aims to close that gap in the near future with the launch of a new mobile phone application for customers.

The app would put the carrier on par with it US legacy airline rivals American, Delta and United who all presently offer an mobile app to their customers.

“You always feel like on technology issues you’re trying to catch up. It keeps moving so rapidly,” carrier SVP marketing and planning Andrew Nocella told the APEX editor’s blog during US Airways’ annual media day in Phoenix. He admits that with respect to a mobile application “we are definitely behind where we need to be”. However, he believes US Airways’ mobile website is “equal to or better than anyone else’s”.

Development of the US Airways mobile application has been challenging as Nocella explains, “We’ve outsourced this [app development] and we’ve had some difficulties in creating an app that does everything we want it to do. One of the key things that needs to be in our apps or mobile website is the sale of ancillary products, and getting that process to work the right way and be consumer friendly…has definitely been a challenge.”

Nocella feels that US Airways “is getting there” in terms of ironing out technical challenges associated with the app, “but I bet you a year from now my assessment will still be that we’re behind, and we need to keep running to catch up”.

The carrier’s upcoming merger with American Airlines also ushers in new considerations regarding mobile technology. Nocella explains there will come a time when the carriers will have to decide whether to keep investing in the US Airways’ app or move the investment to American’s mobile phone technology. “It seems to me continued investment and convenience for US Airways flyers is likely to be required but also managed in the context that you’re going to be turning some of those systems off in 18 months.” US Airways and American aim to close their merger during the third quarter of 2013 and estimate a 12-18 month integration period.

US Airways’ mobile phone app is presently being beta tested with roughly two dozen of the carrier’s employees, and there are a couple of kinks with respect to speed on some of the app’s functions. The carrier would prefer to debut the new feature among passengers in about a month, but Nocella cautions that “I don’t have the exact date…we’ll get it [the app] out there as soon as we can.”

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About Lori Ranson

Lori Ranson has spent more than a decade covering the commercial aviation industry, specialising in the North American market. Previously she was Americas Air Transport Editor for Flightglobal and currently is a Senior Analyst at the Centre For Aviation and a freelance journalist. Her coverage has touched on all aspects of commercial aviation, including marketing and distribution, network development, safety, maintenance, repair and overhaul, aircraft programmes, alliances, regulatory developments and finance.

View all posts by Lori Ranson
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