Air Malta is hoping to secure a 30% saving in its information technology costs after striking a deal to outsource its IT operations to SITA and moving to cloud-based technology.
Work has already begun on the migration under the six-year multi-million dollar contract, which is expected to be completed early next year.
As part of the wide-ranging agreement, SITA will transform Air Malta's existing data centre into a virtual environment for service hosted using SITA's air transport industry cloud infrastructure. More than 500 work stations and 20 tablets will be powered by the cloud.
"Air Malta had never looked at IT as a strategic issue before. We've tried to make a quantum leap with this deal," explained airline chief executive Peter Davies, speaking at a press briefing announcing the deal during SITA-organised Europe Aviation ICT Forum in Nice today. "There was no strategic thought. There were lots of good people, but it was reactive not proactive. This will have such a big impact on how we operate. And it gives us a trusted partner on technology, which means we will never again be behind."
Alongside the upgrade in technology, the transfer to cloud-based technology will help cut Air Malta's IT costs - crucial as it continues a restructuring programme aimed at turning round losses to ensure the survival of the airline.
"It will play a significant part in reducing operating costs and also be a much better foundation to secure greater revenues from customers," says Davies. "This overhaul of our IT infrastructure is designed to deliver a minimum of 30% cost savings and a return on our investment in just two years."
Much of the cost-saving comes from the move to cloud-based technology. "It's on demand, pay as you go. Its elastic, you are charged for what you use," explains SITA chief technology officer Jim Peters. The deal with Air Malta provides a boost for the SITA air transport industry - which it pitches as a community resource for the sector. "Air Malta is an early adopter and is one of the first [airlines] to use it this extent," says SITA president Europe, Dave Bakker.
Peters adds: "We have a number of trials today and we are in commercial negotiations to see those come forward." He acknowledges there has been some caution from airlines to transfer to cloud technology and that a number have been doing trials to verify the end-user experience. "I think people are stepping up to it cautiously, but it is the way of the future.
"People want to be confident of where their data is and who manages it in the cloud," Peters adds. "This is where the SITA DNA comes in. SITA is founded, owned and governed by the airline industry and that is important in overcoming the trust element."