Qantas shifts entire system to Amadeus

Qantas Airways has shifted its entire reservations and ticketing system to the Amadeus network in a $37 million project completed this week.

The move involved shutting down most of Qantas' key systems for several hours while 31,737 terminals and 202 system links were reconnected.

Some 1.5 million Passenger Name Records were migrated to the new system, along with 1.98 million e-tickets and 3.5 million Frequent Flyer profiles.

Out of the total investment, $17 million was spent on training close to 10,000 end users worldwide, according to Qantas CIO Fiona Balfour. Amadeus will provide the technology platform for the next 10 years.

Balfour said customers would have greater accessibility and flexibility when making travel arrangements under the new system.

"As our business volumes continue to grow, being part of the Amadeus global community for ticket sales will be a key benefit and the new system also offers us a broader range of enhanced e-commerce products," she said in a statement.

"Our customers' expectations are changing at a rapid rate and the system will allow us to not only meet, but exceed these expectations in the years ahead."

Balfour said payback on the new system lies in the opportunity to save on system development costs in the future and also moving more of the business online.

"Qantas can now share in commercial costs with other Oneworld Alliance members already part of the Amadeus system like British Airways, Finnair, Iberia and Lan Chile," she said, adding: "We're spending this [IT] money differently -- not on development work but on costing the system by using it on a transactional basis."

Balfour said another key benefit of the migration was the new platform provided much richer functionality with the links of Qantas' Oneworld partners.

Qantas officials said the move to the Amadeus sales system was the first phase of its Triton Program. Qantas migrated from a previous in-house-developed business system for reservations and ticketing known as QUBE (Qantas Universal Business Environment), which had been in place since November 1996, according to Balfour.

Under the project, more than 40 technical staff from Qantas transferred to Amadeus in permanent roles, and around 10 other IT staff would seek other opportunities within Qantas in change technologies or business analysis, Balfour told Computerworld.

Between 2003 and 2005, the airline will implement a new generation of world-class airline systems for departure control, inventory and load control, in conjunction with Amadeus.

Qantas joins 109 airlines -- including four other Oneworld Alliance members such as British Airways -- and more than 60,000 travel agencies worldwide on the Amadeus Global Distribution System, following the weekend's switch.

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