Russia is to buy a $140 million airline management and computer reservation system (CRS), aimed at giving Russian and other CIS airlines access to the latest Western technology.

The system, called the Sirena 3, will be developed by a consortium which includes US companies AT&T, IBM, AMR's Sabre Group and Russia's International Technology - Sirena.

The CRS will be the largest outside the USA, says IBM, co-ordinating up to 60 million annual passenger movements.

The project was made possible after the US Export-Import Bank agreed to guarantee a $90 million loan, backed by a Russian Government sovereign guarantee, from Commerzbank and the Llama Group of Arkansas.

The plan is to establish the core central-processing site by 1998, and work has already begun on parts of the Sirena 3 project which do not require "major financing", says IBM. The aim is to offer a customised version of existing Sabre CRS software to manage fares and pricing, scheduling, revenue accounting, passenger check-in and yield management.

Sabre Decision Technologies (SDT) will develop and implement the application software, while IBM will provide information-technology services and computer systems. AT&T Tridom's VSAT satellite-communications system will be used to network the Sirena 3's processing centre near Moscow with 500 satellite dishes located throughout the CIS.

SDT believes that the Sirena 3 will "-have a tremendous impact on the efficiency and modernisation of CIS airline operations". IBM says that it is "the first step in a long-term relationship with CIS carriers and travel agents".

Source: Flight International