Airline System Migration Case Study


One of the world's largest international airlines was struggling to maintain its bespoke inventory, reservations and departure control systems which had supported the business for 30 years.

Under a 10-year program, a world leader in on-line computer reservation systems took on responsibility for the airline's passenger administration systems. The programme contained 150 projects, the last of which should have completed within 18 months.

Many of the airline's systems which were not directly connected with passenger administration were nonetheless inter-related meaning that many bespoke interfaces to the community system had to be designed and developed.

One of the most complex aspects of the programme was determining the order and the mechanism by which legacy systems were moved across to the new community system while ensuring that the airline’s core services were not impacted. Thousands of personnel had to be re-trained to use the new software, many employees of external companies also required training.

Three years on from the programme start date it was clearly in trouble, not least as it was by this point 18 months overdue. The programme's true status was unknown, morale was at rock bottom, and the airline's directors felt very badly exposed. Iain having already worked on a number of other projects for the airline, was asked to take control of the programme.

Iain quickly establised a robust reporting structure, re-defined delivery standards for each project, changed the working culture of the different project teams, and developed a new programme which, crucially, included an additional 60 projects. Nine months later the airline switched off its old system having successfully completed migration; this was described in Computer Weekly as the 'largest system migration undertaken anywhere in the world to date'.

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ICIFM - Airline System Migration Case Study