Airline collapse hits Australian IT community

While IBM GSA is reported to have lost a $100 million IT outsourcing contract with Ansett, a wider group of IT companies are feeling the effects of the airline's financial woes, after a lucrative contract for the redevelopment of Adelaide Airport was canned it its wake.

Adelaide Airport International had put together a tender for a new terminal facility on a greenfield site that would combine the city's international, domestic and regional terminals into one building.

According to an airport spokesman, there was a "hell of an IT component" involved in the $220 million project, including the procurement of over $10 million worth of IT product.

The project needed the approval of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the Commonwealth Government and all major airlines. But when Ansett's financial troubles came under public scrutiny, the financiers of the project were no longer confident about the return on investment, since Ansett was a principal lease holder.

Adelaide Airport International IT manager Hassan Dawood said he was considering introducing anywhere between 30 and 40 PC clients and 70-200 digital security cameras for the project.

"Adelaide was going to have a modern, state-of-the-art and dignified terminal area," said an airport spokesperson. "The demise of Ansett has created an economic hole that is difficult to cover."

The terminal redevelopment project was considered by many in Adelaide's IT community to be "the only gig in town", with vendors committing extensive resources to the tender. Dawood said Unisys (terminal management system), Cisco, Commander and Ericsson-Damovo (IP telephony and networking), Honeywell (security systems) and JD Edwards (financials system) were all involved in pitching for the business.

But a source at one channel company involved with the project said significant resources had been put in place to fulfil the project, including staff being kept on that would otherwise have earlier been let go.

"Steven Spielberg couldn't have dreamt up the events of the past few weeks," the Airport spokesman told ARN.

- Australian Reseller News

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