Magazine article American Banker

Swissair, Cathay Pacific to Install In-Flight ATMs

Magazine article American Banker

Swissair, Cathay Pacific to Install In-Flight ATMs

Article excerpt

Two international airlines are aiming to make the globe-trotting life a bit easier by installing in-flight automated teller machines for foreign currency exchanges.

Swissair and Cathay Pacific said they will each equip a Boeing 747-300 with an ATM within the first six months of next year.

"Time is at a premium for business travelers, so it will be a great advantage to the business traveler to be able to obtain currency in the air instead of when they arrive on the ground," said Mary Ann McNulty, executive editor of Business Traveler News in Chicago.

It has been estimated that in-flight entertainment could generate as much as $1 million per plane per year. Banks stand to benefit from such transactions because the systems can be used only by swiping credit and debit cards.

By installing ATMs that can also dispense special debit cards for in flight purchases of goods and entertainment, airlines are poised to grab a larger share of the profits.

Swissair will offer lotto and bingo games, accessible from each passenger seat with a valid credit or debit card.

"This gives us an opportunity to better serve our customers," said Swissair spokeswoman Linda Parseghian.

Cathay Pacific has started testing a program that allows first class and business class passengers access to travel and entertainment information. The program will be expanded to include purchases of duty free goods or movies, said Diana Fung, spokeswoman for the Hong Kong-based airline.

Aero Design Technology Inc. of Valencia, Calif., the manufacturer of ATM+, will provide maintenance and direct marketing support for all aspects of the program. …

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