by Todd Datz

Connecting More Than Flights

Nov 01, 20022 mins
Data Center

American Airlines CIO Monte Ford sheds no modesty when it comes to the integration of TWA’s computer systems. “It’s a modern miracle,” he says. “There is nothing that I have seen that comes as close to being as [complex and as] complicated as that was.” Hundreds of applications were modified to accept TWA data, and a new IP network was rolled out in more than 150 airports and other locations.

Most of TWA’s systems were converted eight months after AA acquired TWA in April 2001. The most critical cutover involved TWA’s real-time passenger reservation system, which took place in December 2001. “The people [involved] did a phenomenal job. They must have done a phenomenal job,” Ford says. “They’re all asking for promotions.”

Below is a brief chronology of the integration.

September to Nov. 30, 2001

Replaced all workstations, ticket, bag-tag and boarding-pass printers at all TWA airports. Implemented a switch in the Sabre system that allowed Sabre-connected devices to connect to Worldspan (TWA’s computer reservation system) via Sabre.

Nov. 3, 2001

Migrated 203,150 TWA passenger name records (PNRs) from the Worldspan reservation system to Sabre in preparation for the operational cutover on Dec. 2. More than 99 percent of the PNRs were automatically loaded without error or intervention.

Implemented electronic ticketing between Worldspan and Sabre systems.

Dec. 2, 2001

The Big Day: TWA operations, including its flight operating system and passenger reservation system, were successfully cut over from Worldspan to Sabre, and all flights began flying under the AA carrier code. Almost all systems and departments, including airport customer services, flight operations, and cargo, food and beverage, migrated to AA systems and procedures. Mileage from members of TWA’s Aviators Club frequent flier program migrated to AAdvantage accounts.

Jan. 1, 2002

All TWA employees converted to AA payroll and benefits systems.

April 30, 2002

The migration of TWA’s network infrastructure to AA’s network was completed, including e-mail for all TWA employees.

May 18, 2002

The migration of the maintenance and engineering systems from TWA’s Kansas City, Mo., data center to the EDS data center in Tulsa, Okla., was completed.

Source: American Airlines