American Airlines (AA) is set to introduce its Premium Economy product in Asia early next year.
This was relayed to Travel Update in an interview with American Airlines Vice President for Asia Pacific, Shane Hodges, during his first visit to the country recently.
“We entered into a long term growth phase after the merger with USAir three years ago. We will be introducing a Trans-Pacific Premium Economy next year. We’ve also introduced in the U.S. for now a basic economy class to compete against LCCs, a no-frill basic offering; but that means you get the network of AA, the service along with the main cabin extras, premium economy, and business class,” Hodges imparted.
“All trans-Pacific flights will have Premium Economy by the end of next year,” he added.
Asked on how the region is faring in AA’s radar, Hodges was ecstatic. “We have a number of offline markets here but those offline markets in Southeast Asia when combined, deliver significant volumes into our HK and Narita hubs, particularly the Philippines.”
The market share brought by offline Southeast markets is significant enough to merit a marketing budget increase to 300 percent for the region. The airline will also hire a senior executive to be based in Hong Kong and another person to handle the offline markets as it has been contributing one of the highest growth rates in Asia-Pacific.
Shane joined American Airlines on July 1 this year. He is tasked to represent the company to corporate customers and agency partners and AA’s general commercial activities in Asia Pacific. Prior to joining AA, he spent 17 years of his career leading sales and marketing teams at various Starwood properties throughout the world.
American Airlines is represented by its GSA in the Philippines, Airesources Inc.