BA Simplifies Systems to Cut Costs

British Airways has taken a major step towards simplifying its business systems with the introduction of the Amadeus sales system across the airline.

The Amadeus system replaces the British Airways Booking System (BABS) which had been used for more than 30 years. Its introduction involved shutting down the majority of the airline’s key systems for about four hours, before 48,190 terminals and 200 system links went live on the new system.

More than two million bookings were successfully transferred from BABS to Amadeus, totalling a huge 1,500 gigabytes of data.

Paul Coby, Chief Information Officer for British Airways, said: “We recently announced the top to bottom simplification of the airline when we unveiled the results of our Future Size and Shape review. The switch to Amadeus pre-dates that review but is a massive first step towards simplifying our business systems.

“As with any major systems switch of this nature, there is a settling-in period while our customer service staff become fully familiar with the changes involved and we recognise this has put pressure on the levels of service we offer some of our callers.


“However, we are very confident that in the short term we will not only be able to provide our customers with better service, but also save the airline millions of pounds.”
Introduction of the Amadeus sales system is the third of five milestones in a strategic partnership between the airline and Amadeus announced in August 2000.

The partnership has already seen Amadeus successfully take on the management of certain British Airways’ systems in London and transfer them to its data centre in Germany. In addition, British Airways’ fare quote system, which allows sales agents to price itineraries, has also been transferred from Galileo to Amadeus.

Hans Jorgensen, Vice President, Airline Business Group at Amadeus, said: “British Airways represents the largest single migration of airline systems that Amadeus has ever effected. We service airlines of similar size but they underwent a phased migration over three to six months.

“British Airways’ decision to become an Amadeus system user still echoes around the world, creating interest in Amadeus` solutions from other airlines. We owe the success of this major event to the British Airways and Amadeus staff who performed as one team, making this important phase of the total project a model to be followed.”

Paul Coby added that whilst BABS had served the airline well, the Amadeus sales system will give the airline cutting edge functionality.

He said: “The change to Amadeus has been a fantastic demonstration of the skills and commitment of everyone in British Airways. More than 11,000 members of staff have been trained and more than 500 experts from the IT, Sales, Customer Service and other departments managed the ‘Migration’ over Saturday night (23 February).

British Airways and Qantas will continue to work with Amadeus, to develop a New Generation of world-class airline systems for departure control, inventory and related information systems - the final phase of the partnership. This is expected to be fully available from 2004.

Paul Coby concluded: “The various Amadeus systems we are already using and our ongoing Partnership with Amadeus and Qantas, will lay the foundations for world-leading customer facing British Airways’ systems in the years to come and delivers very significant cost benefits.”