Air Transport World

An arrival & a departure: one IT provider exits the competition for a new reservations system while another throws its hat into the ring.(IT - RESERVATIONS)

IN A MATTER OF WEEKS, ONE WOULD - be purveyor of a next-generation passenger services system dropped out of the market and another joined the fray. Lufthansa Systems ceased development of its FACE (Future Airline Core Environment) passenger management platform, citing but not identifying "commercial reasons" for the decision. Six weeks after LHS bowed


out, SITA announced that it would develop a new and complete suite of reservations, inventory, ticketing and departure control systems based on service-oriented architecture.

LHS said early in 2007 that it was investing [euro]40 million (nearly $60 million) in the FACE project. Its clients--Qatar Airways, Garuda Indonesia and BMI--will continue to use its existing passenger services system.

SITA executives said the timing of the company's announcement was "completely unrelated" to LHS's. Rather than jumping into a void, it simply is creating a natural extension and the final essential piece of its Horizon airline product line. "The need to evolve from mainframe technology is a decision we made a few years ago," says CEO Francesco Violante. Though the timing may have been coincidental, there is little doubt that SITA has been paying attention to some aspects of LHS's experience.

In the wake of its departure from the market, LHS alluded to difficulties with outside vendors involved in the project. "In the development of this highly complex product, we had to rely to a large extent on products and services of different suppliers," it said in a statement. …

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