SINGAPORE (Aug 21): Singapore Airlines (SIA) and China’s Alibaba Group have established a strategic partnership that extends across areas including flight ticket sales, loyalty programmes, marketing initiatives, cloud services, payments and logistics.

The collaboration aims to enhance the customer experience for travellers through the “transformative potential of technology”, as well as allows SIA and Alibaba to join forces in other areas, say both groups in a joint release on Tuesday.

It also encompasses several players in Alibaba’s ecosystem of units and services including online travel platform Fliggy, Alibaba Cloud, Alipay and Cainiao Network.

According to SIA and Alibaba, their capabilities combined with access to more than 600 million monthly active mobile users on the latter group’s China retail marketplaces, will unlock new benefits from customers across the retail and travel value chains.

This will allow both parties to gain actionable customer insights for the benefit of travellers in one of the world’s fastest growing travel markets that is China, they add.

As part of the collaboration, KrisFlyer and Fliggy intend to introduce two-way points conversion later this year, which will allow members to enjoy perks from both brands’ loyalty programmes. This means KrisFlyer members will be able to convert their KrisFlyer miles to Fliggy points, and vice versa.

SIA and Fliggy also intend to explore further opportunities to sync their respective loyalty programmes as well as to drive cross-promotion of their membership services.

Additionally, eligible Fliggy members at certain loyalty programme tiers will be able to earn KrisFlyer Elite Silver or Gold status with accompanying privileges such as tier bonuses on actual miles flown. Fliggy members who achieve KrisFlyer Elite Gold status will also be eligible to receive benefits across the entire Star Alliance network.

The collaboration is expected to see SIA’s IT ecosystem, from web hosting to apps, benefit from Alibaba Cloud’s global network.

SIA also intends to work closely with Cainiao Network, the logistics arm of Alibaba Group, to enhance its international air cargo services.

According to both groups, the latest tie-up represents a significant extension of SIA’s partnership with Alipay, an affiliate of Alibaba, which was introduced as a payment option on SIA’s website in 2013.

An official SIA flagship store was launched on Fliggy, then known as Alitrip before it rebranded, for the direct purchase of SIA flight tickets by consumers in China in 2016.

Going forward, SIA and Alibaba say the recent expansion of their partnership will reflect “the seamless convergence of online and offline retail experience in a digital-first reality” – being a “natural fit” with both SIA’s position as one of the world’s leading airlines and its focus on innovating the customer experience through digital.

“We have important capabilities and experiences to offer, based on valuable insights gained from serving the world’s largest group of online consumers. The lessons we have learned in helping to transform e-commerce and drive important initiatives like New Retail will help drive our partnership with Singapore Airlines and provide our consumers with higher-quality global travel services,” says Angel Zhao, president of Alibaba Global Business Group, vice president of Alibaba Group and president of Fliggy.

Shares in SIA closed 1.8% higher at $9.73 on Tuesday.