Star finally commits to IT platform

It’s been a long time coming, but the Star Alliance has finally given the nod to the common IT platform, which will be built by travel IT provider Amadeus.


The go ahead for this project is a significant milestone in the development of alliances, which have tended to rely on communication between the different IT systems, and IT cultures, of member airlines.


The length of time it has taken to make a decision – the request for information went out in 2003 – was partly due to the financial woes of certain Star carriers, but is also a reflection on how big a commitment it is for an airline to move its IT system over to an alliance-friendly model.


For Air Canada, this proved to be too much of a commitment. The Canadian carrier was meant to join Lufthansa and United Airlines in launching the project and setting a template for other partners to follow – but decided earlier this year not to join the other two launch customers.


Like Air Canada, United has been forced to focus on survival rather than long term IT projects, and the US carrier has yet to finalise a timetable to migrate its legacy systems in the wake of Lufthansa, which plans to complete this process in 2007.


“How can it be an alliance platform with just one airline,” was a question asked by one airline IT expert.


However, Lufthansa is very much the lead partner for Star in Europe, and surely it can only be a matter of time before the likes of Austrian, Swiss, SAS. LOT, TAP and bmi join the German carrier. And although some may be sceptical about United’s ability to implement the project, the costs of keeping its ageing Apollo legacy system going may well ensure the carrier migrates to the common platform sooner rather than later. 


 

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