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1998-05-11 20:58:15


Airline Woes Described by IATA



The y2k problems facing airlines are monumental, just as they are for every other large industry.

The airline industry has one recognized spokesman, unlike most other industries. It is IATA: the International Air Transport Association. Because airlines are regulated by many nations, there had to be a spokesman.

The spokesman's description of the problem is comprehensive. It's a shame that no one has described how these problems can be solved, let alone will be solved.

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The year 2000 will have an impact on any company which makes significant use of computer systems; however, the airline industry has a number of specific characteristics which make it somewhat special. These include: Major use of automated systems: the airlines have always been at the forefront of using computers to support their business functions, starting with the introduction of the first high-performance reservations systems in the 1960s. Since then the application of IT has pervaded every area of the company, providing essential support to the entire business, ensuring high levels of customer service and providing the means for introducing new strategic initiatives.

Highly integrated industry: to function effectively the airlines rely heavily on the exchange of information to support their business processes. The industry has much higher interaction between individual companies' systems (e.g. for reservations, check-in, baggage, etc.) than most other sectors. This places an additional level of complexity on efforts to address the year 2000 problem and means that a key component will be ensuring that all the standards for interchanging such data are examined to determine what action is required with regard to dates. World-wide, round-the-clock operations: By the nature of the industry, critical airline systems need to be operational 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Even short interruptions to system availability can cause major inconvenience to customers; longer "outages" would have serious business implications. High-profile: Airlines are generally considered as "high-profile" companies which receive considerably more interest and media attention than some other business sectors. Speculation on the impact of the year 2000 on the airlines is much more "sensational" than for other industries.


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