Qantas expands Amadeus: but not to JetStar

Australia's national airline Qantas has increased its deployment of hosted booking and airline management system Amadeus, but pulled up well short of integrating fully-owned budget airline subsidiary JetStar under the same umbrella.

Briefing analysts and media in Sydney yesterday, Qantas CIO Fiona Balfour said JetStar would retain Navitair's OpenSkies booking platform for the duration of the current contract, but refused to divulge either the price or duration of the OpenSkies current deal.

Balfour conceded the retention of OpenSkies by JetStar would continue to impose limits on transferring passengers and baggage from Qantas and passengers from its international partners on lucrative interline bookings over to JetStar.

Interlining, which is when a local airline picks up the section of an international ticket, is regarded as a revenue staple of airlines because it locks high-yielding passengers into a specified carrier.

Citing the attractiveness of a utility-based (flat fee per transaction) pricing model, Balfour indicated JetStar was still not profitable enough to support any migration to the more costly Amadeus system, despite greater data integration across booking, cross selling and flight operations systems.

This includes the ability to manage customer loyalty and relationship functions such as frequent flyer schemes, passenger upgrades, baggage transfers and seating allocations based on accrued customer value.

"Interlinining on low-cost carriers will only happen when they get the revenue," Balfour said.

In terms of what advantages the new Amadeus system - called Altea Fly - will offer Qantas, Balfour said the system would save significant dollars by way of reducing duplicate passenger databases presently running on Teradata.

"The return on investment is that we will not be investing in a TPF (transaction processing facility) system and in large numbers of staff. Instead of using [Teradata's] cube system it's been shifted to Amadeus," Balfour said.

Scheduled for cut-over during the next 12 months, Altea Fly will integrate Qantas' existing ground management system from internally developed applications over to existing infrastructure running on a range of Oracle applications back-ending into outsourced IBM mainframe infrastructure. "I'm two-thirds of the way into decommissioning our current TPF. The proposal we put to the board was that we are getting better technology and better data...out of this," Balfour said.

Amadeus' latest contract with Qantas is covered in a 10- year, $400 million agreement.

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