Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) is partnering with Ant Financial Services Group ("Ant Financial") and UATP to make it easier for Chinese consumers to purchase airline tickets via delta.com. The move, which sees Delta become the first United States carrier to add Ant Financial's Alipay payment platform to its website, is part of the airline's ongoing effort to serve Chinese travelers. UATP's alternative form of payment processing initiative connects airlines with online payment brands such as Alipay.
With the Alipay payment option on delta.com, Chinese travelers will now be able to use China's most trusted payment method when they book Delta flights. Alipay is China's leading online payment provider and the primary means of online and mobile payment for Chinese consumers.
China has emerged as the world's top-spending and fastest-growing tourism source market over the past decade due to rapid urbanization and the astonishing growth of its middle class. With an enthusiasm for exploring new destinations and different lifestyles, this new generation of Chinese consumers has made the United States its most desired travel destination. In 2013, 1.8 million Chinese travelers visited the United States, contributing $21.1 billion to the U.S. economy*. Following the recent easing of reciprocal visa policies between the U.S. and China, a further increase in Chinese travelers is now expected.
"We are thrilled to help Delta Air Lines make purchasing travel from China easier and more accessible than ever," said Jingming Li, President, Ant Financial Services Group, Americas. "Giving Chinese customers access to the payment method they most trust signals the great service that they can expect when they travel with Delta – from the ease of online booking to the airline's Chinese-speaking flight attendants and airport support."
The partnership with Ant Financial will help Delta connect with the more than 300 million registered Alipay users in China. These savvy online consumers will be able to fund their Alipay purchase on delta.com through bank accounts or credit or debit cards with over 200 Alipay financial institution partners around the world.
"This exciting new partnership is one of many Delta initiatives to build the most Chinese-friendly U.S. airline," said Vinay Dube, Delta's senior vice president – Asia Pacific. "As the U.S. and China have agreed to issue multiple-entry visas for up to ten years for short-term business and tourist travel, our partnership with Alipay will give more Chinese consumers the chance to experience traveling in the U.S. with our industry-leading product and service in flight and on the ground."
Delta operates nonstop flights from Beijing and Shanghai-Pudong to two U.S. gateways, Detroit and Seattle, where passengers can connect to more than 250 U.S. cities. Delta also operates daily nonstop flights from Shanghai-Pudong to Tokyo-Narita, where passengers have additional connection options to Delta's global network. Delta recently announced a new service between Shanghai and Los Angeles starting July 9, 2015.
Delta has been increasing nonstop flights from China to the U.S. since 2009 to address the growing travel demand in the market. Delta continues to make significant investments to build the most Chinese-friendly U.S. airline. Chinese travelers are well served with local language options on the delta.com website, at airport self-service kiosks and among inflight entertainment selections. The airline is also proud to have Chinese-speaking flight attendants and to offer Chinese cuisine among its inflight meal options.
About Ant Financial Services Group
Ant Financial Services Group is focused on serving small and micro enterprises as well as consumers. With the vision "to turn trust into wealth," Ant Financial is dedicated to building an open ecosystem of Internet thinking and technologies while working with other financial institutions to support the future financial needs of society. Businesses operated by Ant Financial Services Group include Alipay, Alipay Wallet, Yu'e Bao, Zhao Cai Bao, Ant Micro Loan and Sesame Credit.
UATP is the low cost payment network privately owned by the world's airlines. UATP is the preferred form of payment for corporate travel in large international companies and small local companies worldwide. UATP's value model provides a true low-cost alternative to expensive credit card and merchant service fees while still allowing airlines to keep and build their customers' loyalty. This value helped UATP surpass USD 13 billion in sales worldwide for 2011 in the corporate travel space and produce millions of dollars in both savings and revenue for its shareholders. UATP now offers corporate information tools to provide important, detailed data through easy-to-use programs. UATP DataStream is a tool that provides important information for centralized billing, and allows for complete organization of the content. UATP DataMine is used for extensive data tracking of all corporate transactions. Customize reports to view summaries of the transactions used by each UATP card in the system.
About Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines serves more than 170 million customers each year. Delta was named to FORTUNE magazine's top 50 World's Most Admired Companies in addition to being named the most admired airline for the fourth time in five years. Additionally, Delta has ranked No.1 in the Business Travel News Annual Airline survey for four consecutive years, a first for any airline. With an industry-leading global network, Delta and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to 321 destinations in 58 countries on six continents. Headquartered in Atlanta, Delta employs nearly 80,000 employees worldwide and operates a mainline fleet of more than 700 aircraft. The airline is a founding member of the SkyTeam global alliance and participates in the industry's leading trans-Atlantic joint venture with Air France-KLM and Alitalia as well as a newly formed joint venture with Virgin Atlantic. Including its worldwide alliance partners, Delta offers customers more than 15,000 daily flights, with key hubs and markets including Amsterdam, Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York-JFK, New York-LaGuardia, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Salt Lake City, Seattle and Tokyo-Narita. Delta has invested billions of dollars in airport facilities, global products, services and technology to enhance the customer experience in the air and on the ground. Additional information is available on delta.com, Twitter @Delta, Google.com/+Delta, Facebook.com/delta and Delta's blog takingoff.delta.com.
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SOURCE Delta Air Lines