How cooperation with CitizenPlane helps Kiwi.com fill empty planes
Interview with Co-founder of CitizenPlane, Côme Courteault, about the company’s goals, surviving in the pandemic, and cooperation with Kiwi.com
Kiwi.com cooperates with many companies, including various airlines, airports, meta searches and Online Travel Agencies (OTAs). Here we focus on one of our partners – CitizenPlane – the company that helps airlines and tour operators sell empty seats and allows Kiwi.com to build unique itineraries for our customers. Why does CitizenPlane partner with Kiwi.com, and what does this partnership bring to the table? Learn more in the interview with CitizenPlane Co-founder, Côme Courteault.
What is the story of CitizenPlane and how does your company operate?
The idea of CitizenPlane started back in 2018 when we realized that there was unused airline seat capacity that was not distributed online. Tour operators, with charter flights, were losing the most on unsold seat capacity, as they had only offline channels and couldn’t distribute seats elsewhere. So, we built CitizenPlane – an online platform that helps tour operators and airlines manage this unsold inventory and broadcast it online.
We started as a simple product where agents or tour operators could upload their inventory of seats (plane tickets) that they couldn’t sell on their own. The tickets would be sold online through different OTAs, including Kiwi.com.
What do CitizenPlane and Kiwi.com bring to travelers?
CitizenPlane’s main focus is to maximize the utilization of the plane from the carrier’s perspective. By doing so, we provide cheaper fares to the passengers and we make sure that our service is very easy and simple for them. Despite the pandemic, we grew from 500k seats to 1.5 million seats during the last year, which means more choice, more content, and more alternatives.
And it all becomes possible thanks to cooperation with companies like Kiwi.com, one of our biggest partners in our targeted markets. Getting the tickets distributed from us, Kiwi.com makes sure the traveler gets the desired product, binding the unsold flight with other flights and extra services. As Kiwi.com has a vast travel content database, you can bundle any flight into an itinerary through Virtual Interlining, as some tickets are offered as a one-way or only as part of the trip. Kiwi.com has unique combinations that I couldn’t imagine before and haven’t seen offered by other OTAs. This way, everyone benefits from the cooperation – we at CitizenPlane and Kiwi.com, by creating unique itineraries for passengers and helping airlines sell unsold tickets.
How did the pandemic affect your business and did you have to adjust your product accordingly?
We noticed that all leisure flights to tourist destinations such as Greece, Italy, and Portugal were gone during the first pandemic outbreaks. Only flights to the main cities were operating. For example, we saw many bookings to the capital of Tunisia, and these were not tourists but locals returning home or visiting family. We have been able to fill the airlines’ capacity on underserved routes as some airlines were not flying anymore, but there were still passengers who had to travel no matter what.
The pandemic has taught us to be more efficient and be better. The whole travel industry and the world overall had a wake-up call in 2020. We in CitizenPlane understood that we need to find more travel content and activate our extension. As a result, we’ve expanded to about 15-20 countries (we have more than 50 countries now), and we’ve grown everywhere in Europe, the Middle East, and a little bit of Asia – all of which also helps Kiwi.com offer greater choice to their customers.
We understood that we need to bring feeding flights to hubs operated by big airlines, and Kiwi.com helps us with this mission. As a result, customers can enjoy longer trips on a budget, combining different types of low-cost and legacy airlines in one itinerary. We want to help everyone maximize the distribution and use plane space, so no seats are lost. In the end, it’s all about tremendous ecological and economic pressure, and the industry cannot afford to keep one billion seats empty per year. It’s great that we cooperate with Kiwi.com and other OTAs that help us with our ultimate mission.
Kiwi.com’s Head of Travel Content Acquisition values partnerships where everybody benefits
“As Côme mentioned, the cooperation between CitizenPlane and Kiwi.com has a bigger meaning of helping airlines fly with full capacity, without wasting space and hurting the world’s ecology. After getting offers from CitizenPlane, our mission at Kiwi.com is to provide a passenger with a smooth travel experience, by effectively combining flights and offering extra services, such as extra baggage or insurance. In the end, everyone benefits from our cooperation, be it an airline, tour operator, or passenger who gets to the final destination with the best offer possible,” adds Gilson Filho, Head of Travel Content Acquisition at Kiwi.com
Are you interested in partnering with Kiwi.com? Don’t hesitate to reach out through the form below, and we’ll be happy to contact you back.