Air Travel in Asia with Paul Papadimitriou

Air Travel in Asia with Paul Papadimitriou
With Paul Papadimitriou from Layovers podcast, we discuss the air travel industry in Asia from premium & budget airlines, airports as trading ports & hubs, new business models and technologies that might disrupt the travel industry.

With Paul Papadimitriou from Intelligencr and the host of two podcasts (Digital Loop and Layovers), we discuss the air travel and aviation industry in Asia. We started our conversation from his international relations roots and how he came to Asia and started his consultancy, Intelligencr. Paul also shared his experience as an angel investor and the interesting stories behind his investments. Finally, we spent a significant amount of time talking about why Asia has been leading in the air travel industry from premium airlines, budget airlines, airports as retail hubs and trading ports and new technologies & business models that might disrupt a highly regulated industry.

Here are the interesting notes and links to the discussion (with timestamps included):

  • Paul Papadimitriou (Personal Website, LinkedIn, @papadimitriou, Facebook), Founder Intelligencr, Founder/Producer/Host of two podcasts: Layovers (Future of Flying) and Digital Loop, and one of his former well-known sites: Mobile in Japan
  • Story of Paul Papadimitriou 
    • How did Paul start from international relations and progress to become an innovation scout? [1:04]
    • What brought Paul to Asia, and lived in Japan and Philippines. [2:46]
    • What led him to start an online publication called “Mobile in Japan” for 6 years, what are the lessons learnt from writing about mobile in Japan? [5:00]
    • How did you get started in the area of innovation and business? [7:52] 
    • You’re now reside in London, are you still active in Asia? Thorugh his consultancy Intelligencr, he worked on the global launch of Ubuntu mobile OS which included China and also worked with South Korea government on entrepreneurship programs. [9:44]
    • A short introduction to his consultancy company, Intelligencr [10:50]
  • Angel Investor 
    • Paul have invested & mentored in companies as an angel investor. What are the red flags that lead him not to invest in a founder? [12:17]
    • The three things he look in a founder: Resilience, Character and Curiosity [12:55]
    • His learnings from being an angel investor from US, Asia and emerging markets such as Southeast Asia. Investments: Silvair (Seed Labs) [15:12]
  • The story behind the two podcasts:Digital Loop and Layovers. [18:20]
  • Air Travel and Aviation Industry in Asia and the Layovers podcast (iTunes, RSS and SoundCloud)
    • How did you decide to start a podcast about the aviation industry? A short story about how he started the podcast with his co-host Alex Hunter. [20:00]
    • What are the topics discussed in the podcast? [24:15] 
    • An overview on air travel in Asia and Asia is leading from airlines (Singapore Airlines, Cathay, Qatar Emirates) to airports (Changi). [25:20]
      • How Hong Kong and Singapore built out their airlines and airports as hubs and trading routes within Asia. How Emirates is doing this as well for Dubai. [26:50]
      • Budget airlines innovation in Asia: Air Asia X (low cost but longer haul planes). [27:48]
      • Fifth freedom routes: the rights for planes to depart and land in a country – Japan as the first innovator to this transition route model (for example, Singapore to Japan to San Francisco) [28:16]
    • Interesting budget or premium airlines in China. Any equivalents to Southwest and Virgin. The difficulty of getting landing slots in China [29:50]
    • A short discussion on Indigo airlines and how they are growing fast in India. [30:20]
    • Disruption of airline industry with premium and budget airlines, hollowing out middle tiered airlines (for example, Malaysia Airlines, Lufthansa) and similar to digital disruption which bifurcates the markets to low & high end, hollowing out the middle. [32:00]
    • Budget airline as an ecommerce store from the start to capture user attention to buying services while travel. A surprising fact: low cost airlines are actually safe and no-frills. [33:00]
    • From discovery to booking flights, how travel search engines dis-intermediate the travel agents, budget airlines disrupt the aviation industry, and now the airports. [35:53]
    • New ideas in air travel industry: smart luggages and suitcases and startups to book flights, find airline lounges [38:30]
    • Google’s ownership of ITA, a major provider of flight ticketing and how it affects the airline industry. Google has signed a non-competitive agreement which expires at 2016. [39:25]
    • Uber for private jets. Why we have not seen one in Asia. [41:57]
    • The interesting conversation about private banking and private jets airport. We discussed the economics in the high end market of air travel. [44:30]
    • Innovation in airline business models: users paying monthly subscription for air travel in airline industry. [45:38]
    • The airports in Asia: How do you find air travel across Asia? What are the business models which airports operate on? Why Asia airports run a retail model so well from Changi Singapore, Hong Kong International Airport and Incheon International Airport. [46:50]
    • Competition of Airports in Asia in the battle for trade routes. [54:00]
    • The B2B model from logistics to cargo handling in airports: Memphis for Fedex [55:50]
    • Reference: Episode 22: JNB from Layovers.

Podcast Information:

The show is hosted by Bernard Leong (@bleongcw) and are sponsored by Ideal Workspace (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) and Linkcious (and check out their other product, Chiibi). Also check out Ideal Workspace’s new standing desk, Aspirus and sign up for their mailing list.