This article summarizes the evolution of airline computer systems from the late 1950s and 1960s when airlines were among the first users of real time systems to the present. In general, systems are used for such applications as reservations, maintenance management, accounting, flight planning, and message switching. In the begining, airlines tended to develop their own tailor-made systems, with little attempt at industry-wide cooperation. In recent years, this approach has proven to be extremely un-cost-effective, so the trend is now toward use of more generalized airline applications software packages and toward greater cooperation among airlines. The computer systems of three airlines are described. Lufthansa's reservations system, utilizing Univac equipment, was developed entirely in-house. Because of the custom-made nature of its system, the airline has not been as active in marketing its expertise as some other carriers, although it has sold some of its software to other users. In contract, KLM, a smaller carrier, purchased software from other IBM users while developing some in-house. In turn, it has been selling its system to other users. As an example of a large airline using less specific software British Airways has been able to offset the consiberable expense of merging the separate computer systems of BOAC and BEA by taking advantage of being one of IBM's first non-US customers and selling its expertise to a large and varied list of clients (including 46 airlines - 8 in the US), accumulating more revenue from this activity than any other carrier. As far as the future is concerned, it will probably be more in the direction of refinement of existing systems, rather than any wholesale change-over, although a shift to the newer decentralized systems is possible.

Media Info

  • Pagination: p. 507-512
  • Serial:
    • Interavia
    • Volume: 33
    • Publisher: Jane's Information Group
    • ISSN: 0020-5168

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00178732
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Interavia
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 14 1978 12:00AM