IBM and Etihad Deal
Recently, Etihad Airways has signed a $700 million deal with cloud giant IBM. IBM is set to provide the company’s passengers with cloud computing services that will make air travel easier. This ten year service agreement entails that IBM will provide new information technology services to Etihad and its partner airlines via a new cloud data center in Abu Dhabi. This new data center will be developed and created by IBM. According to Etihad, the center will be one of the most sophisticated of the facilities in the Middle East. As airlines look to reduce line times, they are beginning to invest in IT solutions, as Etihad has with IBM. Cloud technologies will help the airlines improve security while reducing the cost for passengers.
Etihad is the newest addition to the trend of airlines that have adopted cloud-based collaborative decision-making systems. Such systems aim to share important information such as flight departure and arrival times and baggage information. Etihad joins companies such as Lufthansa, who signed a €1 billion IT outsourcing deal with IBM, and British Airways, who signed a deal with Red Hat to increase its cloud computing capabilities.
New technologies may include better luggage drops with label printing and self-boarding gates based on data generated from check-ins, enable airlines to order, replace and maintain aircraft components more efficiently, better estimate travel times, and better manage loyalty programs.
James Hogan, Etihad’s president and chief executive, has commented, “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.” IBM and Etihad will also create a joint technology and innovation council in Abu Dhabi to work on developing more personal travel solutions.