HP has secured a deal with AMR Corp., the parent of American Airlines, to develop a next-generation passenger service system. The airline hopes the new platform will provide passengers with improved access to information on flights, reservations and operations.
AMR announced Wednesday that the new system, to be called Jetstream, will support many of the general operations of American Airlines and subsidiary American Eagle, from reservations, to pricing and ticketing, inventory, flight information and check-in. In addition, it will serve as a foundation for the airline to launch a range of "innovative online and mobile travel tools" for customers.
In a teleconference call, Monte Ford, the chief information officer of American Airlines, said the airline went through an extensive review process before selecting HP, visiting some 15 other airlines and reviewing available technology. While the overall cost was not revealed, HP will implement the system in a modular format over the next four years. Once completed, HP intends to offer the new system to other airlines as part of its industry portfolio.
"The current passenger service system has served us well for many decades and remains among the most reliable," AMR chairman and chief executive Gerard Arpey said in a statement announcing the partnership with HP. "Today's decision indicates our commitment to continue to deliver the most effective tools to our employees and outstanding service to our customers."
American pioneered the development of technology for airline reservations and operations more than 45 years ago, when it partnered with IBM to develop the Sabre system. It then was able to sell the technology to a number of other airlines. American spun off Sabre in March 2000, but continues to use much of that company's technology.
In the announcement Wednesday, American took care to say it appreciated its long-standing relationship with Sabre and that it is considering using other Sabre products and services in the future. But the loss of American Airlines for core services like reservations will be a blow to the company.
Ford said the new system will be able to support American's business processes as a partner in the Oneworld airline network. American, like most other airlines, is struggling to control costs as business traveled has nose-dived during the recession. Ford did not elaborate on the structuring of the contract with HP but did say it was designed to avoid "giant spikes" in the company's IT budget.
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