Latin Americans are racing to Russia in record numbers for 2018 FIFA World Cup

16 May 2018

With Russia to host the FIFA World Cup in June this year, thousands of Latin fans are preparing for a long journey. Flights to Russia from Latin America have skyrocketed, and, aside from the United States – with its large Latino community – five Latin countries are the biggest purchasers of World Cup tickets.

Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil and Peru have bought the most tickets to the World Cup. In a frenzy of football tourism, forward bookings from Latin America have multiplied by up to as much as 118 times according to a recent report by ForwardKeys, a travel and big data analyst consulting firm. 

The data looks at bookings this year for the world cup in comparison to the same dates in the previous year, and only considered passengers staying one night or more at the destination, as part of a round trip. 

Latin American countries experience large growth in flights to Russia for the Fifa World Cup

Flights from Mexico to Russia have multiplied by a factor of 10, with the country expected to have a large presence at the competition. Mexico’s team will play world champions Germany at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on the 17th of June.

“According to FIFA (International Federation of Association Football), a week ago football fans from Mexico bought 51,700 tickets for the football matches in Russia," said Alexei Tikhnenko, the head of the Hospitality Board at the Moscow Sports and Tourism Department.

For Peru, that number is 79 times higher over last year’s figures with the team set to take on Australia, Denmark and France. Panamanians have also entered into a historic rush toward Eurasia with their debut World Cup performance to be held on the 18th of June against Belgium. Panama will also face England and Tunisia in the competition. 

Latin American countries experience large growth in flights to Russia for the Fifa World Cup in numbers

In comparison to last year’s figures, 13 times as many Colombians are heading to Russia. Colombia are ranked 13th in the FIFA rankings and have qualified for the competition five times through the history of the tournament. 

The report identifies Brazil as the largest group of Latin Americans travelling to Russia in terms of volume. ForwardKeys does not provide its methodology in formulating the statistics, however, it shows that Brazil’s volume is the greatest – equal to a figure of 1. Behind Brazil, is Argentina with a score of 0.8, followed by Mexico (0.6).

ForwardKeys is a consulting firm which uses big data to predict the future of travel worldwide. The recent report is an analysis of reservation data from travel agencies around the globe, titled ‘Latin America Travel Outlook: First half of 2018 travel outlook’. The firm analyses over 17 million booking transactions per day and uses the data to anticipate global tourism trends and market opportunities.

Related: Brazil, Latin America's growth driver for long haul air connections.

Brazilian airline Gol teams up with KLM-BCG partnership

15 April 2019

As part of its strategy to digitize its internal operations, Brazilian airline Gol has teamed up with Dutch national carrier KLM and management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

In June last year, KLM and BCG revealed that they had developed an offering that helps airlines leverage technology to streamline their operations “in an unprecedented manner”. The two companies have been working together for over a decade now across KLM’s business, in recent years also focusing on enhancing internal operations through emerging technologies.

Among the projects deployed successfully to date are using internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) to improve Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) delivery, utilizing digitization to bolster back-office processes (crew resourcing, ground services, supply chain, etc) and using AI to optimize inter-airline network planning with Sky Team partners such as Air France (Frane), Aeroflot (Russia), Delta (US) and Middle East Airlines (Lebanon). 

Flyers, meanwhile, are reaping the benefits of this back-office digitization. Baggage delays – which often have a domino effect and create major headaches for thousands of passengers – have been reduced, flight transfer routing has been optimized for cross-border passengers and information provided has been personalized and tailored to individual customer experience journeys using digital channels. 

Having deployed the offering – branded as ‘Digital Airline Operations’ – successfully within KLM, the airline and consulting firm last year formally launched their offering externally. “Sinds doing so at the IATA-conference we have received positive reactions on our proposition from all corners of the globe,” said René de Groot, chief operating officer at the Dutch carrier company.Brazilian airline Gol teams up with KLM-BCG partnership

Brazil’s Gol has now become the first Latin American client of KLM and BCG’s joint venture. Commenting on the decision, Gol chief operating officer Celso Ferrer said, “We are delighted that we can work together on ‘Digital Airline Operations’. This will allow us to improve our on time delivery to our customers, while keeping our cost per available seat mile among the lowest in the industry. KLM and BCG have developed solutions in the field of advanced artificial intelligence and optimization that we can adjust entirely to meet our specifics. All in all, it will enable Gol to develop a strong competitive advantage.” 

With a fleet size of around 130, Gol is Brazil’s largest international airline, ahead of local rival Azul, and one of South America’s largest players. The airline carries more than 33 million passengers annually and operates 750 flights daily to 73 destinations in Brazil and in South America, the Caribbean and the United States. In comparison, KLM has a fleet size of around 160 aircraft, carrying more than 40 million passengers. The firm is however part of the Air France-KLM Group, which has a total fleet size of over 500 aircraft. 

“Based on artificial intelligence, machine learning and advanced analytics, we help airlines grow, accelerate innovation and streamline operations,” said Nicolas Boutin, head of the global Airline practice of Boston Consulting Group. 

Asked how the KLM-BCG offering differentiates itself from the many digital-led solutions in the marketplace, Dirk-Maarten Molenaar, a partner at BCG said: “We distinguish ourselves from standard IT suppliers by our focus on integrated planning & management, data-driven decision-making in the event of disruptions, the use of our tools by frontline teams and the development of internal digital functions to help improve services.”

Related: KLM partners with BCG to bring artificial intelligence to the skies.