Alipay, the online payments unit of Alibaba, is teaming up with world airlines to let its 800 million account holders purchase flights without a credit card.

The company’s deal with UATP (Universal Air Travel Plan), a private network run by airlines like  Air New Zealand, Delta, Aero Mexico, Qantas, and Japan Airlines, is designed to capture a slice of the China’s rapidly expanding travel sector, currently worth some 622 billion yuan (US$102 billion).

Jingming Li, Chief Technology Officer for AliPay, told Quartz that Alibaba launched the partnership because they, “had noticed a great trend of our members traveling to popular destinations like San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, London and Paris.”


BIIA Comment:  This means that Alibaba is taking note of customer behavior as it starts mine the wealth of transaction data flowing through its e-commerce systems.