May 4, 2015 3:14 am JST
Crunching big data

JAL to pour 100 billion yen into new computer systems

TOKYO -- Japan Airlines will overhaul its main computer system for the first time in 48 years to better meet the needs of customers, such as by recommending seats and meals based on an analysis of past preferences.

     JAL configured its own passenger services system, which handles such tasks as reservations and ticketing, in 1969 and has been using the same one ever since with tweaks along the way. In the autumn of 2017, the airline will switch to a cloud service developed by Spain's Amadeus, a leading provider of information technology solutions for the travel industry.

     The total investment, including the cost for related systems, is estimated at 100 billion yen ($828 million).

     JAL has not been able to make full use of the vast volume of customer data because separate databases are used to manage reservations, ticketing, the mileage program and other services. Managing all of this data in the cloud is expected to facilitate analysis of the big data and aid in development of new services.

     For example, the airline will be able to crunch passenger data to analyze the meals that are popular on specific routes or at certain times. This will allow it to prepare enough of those dishes to meet demand.

     JAL also plans to upgrade other systems, such as those for flight management and airport services support, by around fiscal 2020.

(Nikkei)

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