GDSs are known for their reliability. Airline systems, not always.
Over the past year, all four major airlines experienced technical outages of various types and severity. If you’ve been involved in getting clients off the airport floor and onto a plane after long delays or cancellations, you know how frustrating an outage can be.
After Delta—an airline that prides itself on its flight completion factor—endured a meltdown in August that inflicted pain for days, it decided it wasn’t taking the tyranny of technology lying down.
By the end of the year, it had completed a deal for a disaster recovery system with Travelport, a company that has an up-close-and-personal relationship with two of Delta’s most critical systems: its Deltamatic passenger services system and its flight operations system.
“Nobody knows Delta systems like we do,” said Gordon Wilson, chief executive officer of Travelport.
And as for disaster recovery, “We do it for ourselves,” Wilson said.
The project did require a serious investment in hardware, he said. But Travelport viewed it as an “interesting investment opportunity,” particularly since it could leverage its expertise and experience with its own systems.
The system will go live in the second half of this year, and Travelport believes there could be a market for it among other airlines as well.
Delta owns 49% of Virgin Atlantic Airways, and Travelport will be outfitting Virgin with the same disaster-recovery capabilities that it is providing Delta. Wilson noted that Travelport’s deal with Delta covers only the systems that Travelport manages. For example, “we don’t do their front-end websites,” he said.
Travelport’s goal is to ensure that Deltamatic and FlightOps are “completely uninterrupted,” he said.