It has been revealed that IBM has been selected by Etihad Airways to provide the carrier with cloud computing software. As part of the $700m (£452m) deal, IBM has agreed to a ten-year services contract, with Etihad hoping that passengers will see their air travel become easier as a result of using such modern software.
Over the coming decade IBM will provide not only Etihad but also its partner airlines with technology services. A new cloud data centre will be located in Abu Dhabi to help deliver the support and ongoing management required. The centre will be developed and run by IBM, with Etihad saying that it would be one of the Middle East’s most sophisticated technology centres when completed.
The latest deal comes about as the competition between airlines increases. Many operators have begun investing in IT solutions as a result, hoping that such strategies will help to not only boost profits but also to make services seem more attractive to customers; for example, airlines hope to improve security measures, reduce queuing times and simplify the travel process for passengers. Etihad is one of many airlines that have recently adopted a cloud computing system as a way to become increasingly competitive. Using such solutions also provides a more efficient way of facilitating collaborative decision making, particularly as real-time information and predictive forecasts can be used rather than relying on historical data. Data such as passenger details, baggage information and flight arrival and departure times can also be found easily.
In 2014 a €1bn (£730m) deal was agreed between Lufthansa and IBM, with the latter firm taking on an IT outsourcing role for the firm; meanwhile, Red Hat was called upon by British Airways to develop the UK carrier’s cloud computing capabilities. This is no wonder, considering many IT providers are quick to talk of the many advantages using the cloud could provide; for example, self-boarding gates based on check-in information and autonomous label printing at luggage drops could become normal. Airlines could also order their aircraft components more easily and find it simpler to order and replace specific parts. Loyalty programmes could also be better managed, while travel times could become more accurate.
Etihad president and chief executive James Hogan stated: “This is a game-changing agreement for Etihad Airways, for our partners and employees, and for Abu Dhabi. This is a long-term, strategic partnership which will allow Etihad Airways and its partners to harness the latest technologies as we deliver our services.”
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