Aer Lingus CEO

Image: Vance Walstra

Starting next year, economy-class passengers booked on Aer Lingus flights can expect a free 20MB Wi-Fi package and complimentary alcohol with meals, said the airline’s CEO and executive director, Stephen Kavanagh, during a keynote at APEX EXPO.

These changes are part of a brand refresh that will also include 12 new Airbus A321neo long-range aircraft, a redesigned livery and new cabin crew uniforms, Kavanagh said. And while the CEO said the changes will reflect “the airline’s modern outlook and ambition to be the leading value carrier across the North Atlantic,” the livery will retain its iconic shamrock and green hue.

APEX @ is made possible by the support of West Entertainment.

These decisions, like all of the airline’s investments and de-investments, Kavanagh said, were influenced and directed by Net Promoter Score (NPS), with a goal to be in the 40 to 50 range across all areas of the business. NPS is used to determine which areas are relevant to passengers, but “we cannot be all things to all people,” Kavanagh warned.

It is for this reason that the airline sometimes chooses to maintain the status quo or even refrain from fixing a problem if it wouldn’t translate into an improved NPS. “It is those really critical areas where we have dissatisfied guests – what we call hotspots –  where we are capable of delivering high changes to NPS, and that is where we focus our business.”

The strategy has worked out so far, with Kavanagh noting changes to in-flight entertainment screens yielding a 16-point bump in NPS, and an extra $0.50 investment per headset resulting in a “transformational improvement to the passenger experience.” Guided by NPS, the airline is also boasting the highest margins among the IAG airline group, beating out British Airways, Vueling and Iberia.