Aeroflot now offers Alipay as a payment option on its website to enhance service for Chinese customers. Aeroflot is the first transport partner of the Chinese payment system in Russia. The addition of Alipay as another fast and convenient way to pay for flights and other services expands the range of options available to Aeroflot customers, and forms part of the Russian flag carrier’s ongoing drive to enhance passenger service in one of its highest priority markets.
Aeroflot’s excellent service quality, affordable ticket prices, and convenient connecting flights through its hub at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport, which is part of the China Friendly initiative, have enabled the Russian airline to gain a strong foothold in China. In 2016, Aeroflot carried nearly 1.2 mln passengers to and from its four destinations in China (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong), with 60% of them being transit passengers. In April 2017, Aeroflot was named Favourite International Airline in China at the Flyer Award Ceremony.
To leverage the vast potential of the Chinese market, Aeroflot has recently developed a host of service-enhancing initiatives to cater to Chinese passengers. A Chinese-language version of the website has been launched (http://www.aeroflot.ru/ru-zh), and significant changes have been made to in-flight service. Passengers receive menus in Chinese, and those flying business-class can enjoy an Asian set menu featuring a selection of national cuisines. The in-flight entertainment systems offer Chinese programmes, and announcements are made in Chinese on flights to and from China.
Alipay prioritises the most popular tourist destinations for Chinese tourists in its global expansion, and launched in Russia in April 2017. Russia is one of the top destinations for Chinese outbound business and leisure tourists, with traffic numbers steadily growing in recent years. In 2016, over 1.5 million Chinese tourists visited Russia. Alipay is a technical provider of AliExpress payment options worldwide. It is the most popular payment service in China, with more than 450 million active users.