13 Oct 2015 14:00
Etihad Airways and IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced a ten-year technology services agreement worth approximately US$700 million. This will allow the airline to enhance guest experience, develop world-class infrastructure and security, and improve efficiency.
The transformational agreement, one of the
most important strategic collaborations by Etihad Airways, will provide access
to the latest cloud-based technologies and services for the airline, its group
companies and equity partners. Etihad Airways, one of the fastest-growing
airlines in the world, carried 14.8 million passengers in 2014, and serves 113
passenger and cargo destinations.
IBM will deliver a range of secure and efficient
technology services, allowing Etihad Airways and its partners to transform
their IT infrastructure into global, flexible and agile cloud-based platforms
to better serve their guests and employees.
The agreement includes plans for the creation
of a new cloud data centre in Abu Dhabi.
The centre, to be developed and operated by IBM, will be one of the most
sophisticated technology facilities in the Middle East.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and
Chief Executive Officer, said: “This is a long-term, strategic partnership
which will allow Etihad Airways and its partners to harness the latest
technologies as we deliver our award-winning services. This is a game-changing
agreement for Etihad Airways, for our partners and employees, and for Abu
IBM was selected due its global reach, its
experience and alignment with Etihad Airways’ technology and innovation
strategy of deploying cloud-first initiatives to simplify its technology
systems, while offering greater capabilities for lower operational costs. The
cloud, analytics, mobile, security and cognitive technologies will drive
increased efficiencies and effectiveness for all Etihad Airways businesses, as
well as for the Etihad Airways Partners.
Through IBM’s mobile solutions, developed
under the Apple-IBM alliance, the airline will provide enhanced mobile
capabilities to its employees and guests. Other solutions will enable airport
operations to run more efficiently, which will improve the guest experience as
a result of an enhanced end-to-end process. The agreement will also give Etihad
Airways and its equity partners access to IBM’s Watson cognitive technology.
IBM and Etihad Airways will create a joint
technology and innovation council in Abu Dhabi to develop more personalised
travel solutions using IBM’s global research capabilities and the airline’s
industry expertise. The council will focus on value creation for Etihad Airways
and its guests, as well as bringing technological innovation and benefits to
Abu Dhabi and its people.
Webb, Etihad Airways’ Chief Information and Technology Officer, said: “This
landmark agreement, a fundamental part of our technology and innovation
strategy, will bring us a global IT delivery platform that is secure, resilient
and future-ready for Etihad Airways’ companies and equity partner airlines.
chosen IBM as a global technology partner due to its commitment to its people, its
experience in delivering such transformations, and its history of leadership
and innovation in the airline industry. We are confident that this
collaboration will ultimately enhance our guest experience and reinforce our
competitive position further within the industry.”
Martin Jetter, Senior Vice President, IBM
Global Technology Services, said: “By partnering with IBM in this
transformation journey, Etihad Airways is accelerating the move to new
technologies such as cloud computing and cognitive. These technologies will
help the airline to improve efficiencies and achieve its ambitious growth plans
as a globally integrated aviation group.”
Etihad Airways’ current data centre, IT
infrastructure, applications and security operations will be migrated to the
new data centre in Abu Dhabi, and disaster recovery will be managed at an IBM
Cloud data centre in Europe. This approach will allow the airline to scale and
manage its IT resources more efficiently, while ensuring business continuity.
As part of the agreement, around 100 Etihad
Airways information technology employees will transition to IBM, where they will
have access to further IT skills development opportunities. IBM will manage the
entire data centre operation, including individual infrastructure services and
IT helpdesk for Etihad Airways.
The collaboration provides a global framework for technology service
delivery for Etihad Airways and its Etihad Airways Partner airlines, including
Alitalia, airberlin, Jet Airways, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles and Etihad
The agreement was signed at the end of September 2015.