Qantas to consume Impulse IT

Qantas Airways will swallow up Impulse Airlines' IT infrastructure, if the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) approves the proposed merger of the airlines.

The carrier said if the deal goes ahead, Impulse's IT systems would be integrated into its Qube (Qantas Universal Business Environment) system. How this would be achieved is still under discussion.

Qantas' own reservation, inventory and departure control systems has been outsourced to Amadeus. The 10-year deal, finalised in December last year, includes the migration of the current system to Amadeus. The process, which is still in the assessment stage, is expected to take four years. As part of the deal, intellectual property rights of Qube have been transferred.

Qantas and Impulse announced earlier this month that they had entered into a "long-term commercial relationship", with Impulse leasing its planes to the national carrier following the cessation of services under its own brand.

"Increasingly competitive conditions" was cited as the main reason for the proposed merger.

Impulse currently operates its Open Skies computer reservation and revenue management system and servers out of Newcastle. The Web site is managed by Fairfax's F2.

Simon Westaway, corporate affairs manager for Impulse said: "Qantas would like to borrow elements of our [IT] system, especially the Web site. The Internet element excites them a lot, but ultimately our system will be tied to Qantas."

Qantas told Computerworld it was "very happy" with its Web site and declined to comment on the adoption of any Impulse Web site functions or technology.

Qantas is working towards a changeover date of May 14, subject to ACCC approval. After this date the Impulse Web site "will serve no retail function".

Westaway said questions remain as to the future of the Newcastle reservation centre, which opened in May last year; "it may turn into a distribution centre". The centre was built with assistance from a $2.5 million Federal Government infrastructure grant.

The ACCC told Computerworld it is "still investigating" competition issues surrounding the proposal and declined to comment on a timeframe for the announcement of its decision.

Ansett Australia has held talks with the watchdog to argue against the Qantas-Impulse deal, citing "anti-competitive" concerns.