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Kian Gould Interview Part 3: “You need to be able to order a product with the swipe of a finger”

February 14, 2019
About the author Christian HolzschuhChristian Holzschuh
Marketing & Communications

What does digitalization mean for airports? What can airports do to avoid beginner’s mistakes when introducing E-Commerce solutions? Why are premium products purchased so frequently in the travel retail environment? And how can airlines and airports work together optimally to achieve a win-win situation for everyone involved? Kian Gould, CEO and founder of AOE, answered these and other questions in an interview with Peter Marshall.

Interview with AOE CEO Kian Gould – Part 3 of 3

Peter and Kian spoke at the TFWA Summit in Cannes about the challenges in the travel retail industry - and how airports, airlines and retailers react to them. In addition, in the third part of the three-part interview, Kian explains how airlines are progressing with the digitalization of their E-Commerce offerings, why travel retail can simultaneously prevent and benefit from digital disruption, and what changes in the basic attitudes of all participants are necessary for digitalization in travel retail to be successful.

Transcript Part 3 (excerpts)

In their three-part video interview, Peter Marshall of Marshall Arts International, and Kian Gould, CEO of AOE, discuss challenges that airports and the travel retail industry are facing. Learn about different approaches to these challenges and find out how Frankfurt Airport, London Heathrow and Auckland International are digitalizing their business cases to optimize the customer experience and create new non-aviation revenue streams.

80,000 SKUs of beauty and cosmetics, liquor and tobacco on a platform is not the solution for E-Commerce at airports

  1. Peter Marshall: So, what do you think is going to be the tipping point? The trigger point for airports to enter into the right kind of conversation with you? What’s going to prompt them?

    Kian Gould: If I knew that, I would be very happy. What we can say is that we have been invited by almost all the big airport groups to do tenders in 2018 or 2017. A lot of them are starting to prepare to tender, are starting to prepare the strategy. Everyone is trying to wrap their heads around “what does digitalization mean for an airport?” If you are talking to ops people and if you are talking to strategy or commercial people, those are two very different stories. If you talk to a CIO about digitalization, they are thinking about tracking, about biometric passport control, about how to ensure much more seamless workflows, baggage handling and so on. And if you are talking to commercial people, it’s an completely different story, obviously.

    A lot of the airports are in this situation now, they are trying to hire the right know-how, because they have never done E-Commerce before, so they do need this know-how. This is a process that we are seeing.


What is the passengers' main focus when buying goods? Who is really driving digitalization in travel retail? Which two questions need to be answered before creating a successful E-Commerce business model? Read the entire transcript of Part III below for answers to these – and other – questions.

Kian Gould

Kian Gould

CEO and Founder / AOE
What we are trying to do is prevent disruption in travel retail and benefit from it at the same time."

TFWA Summit in Cannes: Kian Gould Interview with Peter Marshall

In the first two parts of the interview, Kian Gould explains the different business models for E-Commerce at Frankfurt AirportAuckland Airport and London Heathrow. Among other things, you will also learn how to measure the success of digitalization strategies and omnichannel platforms, which USPs airports have in E-Commerce and what obstacles they face when implementing such solutions:


Press release: Omnevo and Fraport extend long-term partnership by 5 more years

Frankfurt, July 14th, 2021 - Omnevo, leading provider of revenue-increasing digital platform solutions for airports and airlines and part of the AOE Group, and Fraport AG, owner and operator of Germany's largest airport, announced today that Frankfurt Airport goes live with the latest advanced version of Omnevo's award-winning omnichannel e-commerce solution. Additionally, the two companies announced that they have extended their long-term partnership for another five years to further develop the digitalization of the airport's range of products and services for the almost 70 million passengers (before COVID-19) who travel through Frankfurt Airport each year. With go-live, the existing digital solution platform, which Omnevo’s parent company (AOE) had originally developed for Fraport, was migrated to the latest Omnevo product version. Through its original partnership with AOE Fraport utilized the OM³ digital platform (now known as Omnevo) to become the world’s first omnichannel airport focused entirely on omnichannel both before and, especially, during the pandemic. The newly enhanced Omnevo cloud solution enables the operation of a complete airport marketplace solution for all travel retail sales at a fraction of the costs previously required for such a leading ecosystem, creating new revenue opportunities for crisis-hit airports of any size. Thanks to the highly flexible SaaS solution, Fraport has also effectively future-proofed its digital strategy by integrating directly in the Omnevo product roadmap, enabling it to benefit from Omnevo’s strategy of continuous improvements to the solution.


A personal perspective on leadership

The past year has been extraordinary in so many ways and, while the tragic impact on lives takes precedence, we’ve also had to deal with the huge changes in our working life too. As the crisis developed early last year, I was busy planning in my new role as CEO of Omnevo - AOE’s new specialist product division - positioned as a digital solution pioneer in the travel industry, launching in early 2021. As the crisis grew, this became the most challenging experience of my career, but I’ve been surprised to find that it’s also become one of the most instructive and rewarding experiences too. Creating and launching any new company is always a huge challenge but we suddenly faced extraordinary new barriers as the way we do business had to be transformed. Much of 2020 was spent planning the new company and today, still operates almost exclusively remotely. Many of us, including some of the founders, worked together for almost a year but have still not actually met in person! Yet we already operate successfully in a global network and are scaling and winning new business. Omnevo is a truly virtual organization; this is how we were born and that is how we thrive. In this short time, we’ve already made our mark on this industry, with a culturally diverse, agile and highly committed team working alongside customers of all sizes around the globe. We’re gaining a lot of attention because we are recognized as game changers - and that innovative spirit is integral to our team spirit. We are committed to being the digital challengers and innovators in the travel and mobility industry – an ethos drives us every day. And it’s working. But what is the glue behind this, what makes us successful? Why is it working and, in these bizarre working conditions, how did we manage to get the team so well and engage with our customers so quickly? I’m obviously proud of what we’ve achieved but I want to share my personal perspective on how we made this happen and hope that it will resonate with others in the industry - and, hopefully, help you with your management challenges too.