By Shane McGinley
Deal with Sabre Airline Solutions will help Abu Dhabi carrier reduce its ongoing tech costs
Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways has struck a deal for more than $1bn with Sabre Airline Solutions to upgrade its IT systems, the carrier announced on Wednesday.
The ten-year deal with Texas-based aviation computer technology provider Sabre Airline Solutions will result in the installation of integrated software across its reservations, inventory, marketing, planning, eCommerce, distribution and departure control operations.
The new system will be implemented by February 2013 and will help to reduce the airline’s ongoing technology costs.
“It will be the single largest technology-enabled business change that Etihad Airways will undertake in a decade,” said Etihad Airways CEO James Hogan. “This integrated approach not only gives us cost certainty, but creates efficiencies of scale. We are fortunate to be in a position, unlike legacy carriers, to be able to implement this software across the board.”
The new software will also provide Sabre-connected travel agents with real time access to Etihad Airways’ flight and scheduling information. Sabre Airline Solutions currently provides IT services to more than 300 airlines and 100 airports around the world.
The IT agreement is one of a number of deals struck by the Abu Dhabi flag carrier in recent days. In addition to acquiring a larger stake in Germany’s Air Berlin for $95m, it struck further agreements with China’s Hainan Airlines and Afghan carrier Safi Airlines and paid $2.8bn for 10 Boeing Dreamliner aircraft.
Earlier this week, Hogan told Arabian Business the state-backed airline sees the threat of a deep European recession as posing a “stern test” to the aviation market, and warned fast-growing Gulf carriers would not be immune to the impact.
“Although the brunt of austerity is expected to be felt in the eurozone and North America… airlines in the Middle East are certainly not immune to the effects of slowed growth in the West,” he said.
“[But] the financial strategies that we put in place as long ago as 2006 are maturing and delivering results, and we expect to deliver sustainable profitability [in 2012].”
Etihad in July reported a 28 percent rise in revenue to $1.72bn for the first half of 2011, putting it on target to generate its first net profit in 2012.For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.