Airline reservations systems and IT providers are hustling to bring everything from PCI compliance to printing at the airport into the cloud and, along those lines, HP Enterprise Services introduced HP Converged Cloud Services for Airlines.
The solution amounts to a vertical offering for airlines built on top of HP's existing cloud services with features and functions added to the company's Airline SOA (Airline Service Oriented Architecture). AirSOA integrates components within HP's passenger service system suites.
Brian Cook, vice president and general manager, travel and transportation, HP Enterprise Services, says:
The continued focus on innovating the passenger journey requires improved functionality and access to data, both structured and unstructured. Our vision of embedding functionality, analytics and data into the cloud will allow us to create an Intelligent Airline Cloud that will facilitate the airline industry’s evolution by driving innovation and flexibility.
The pitch is that these new services would enable airlines to reduce costs and speed their delivery of new ancillary products and services.
The new or updated cloud offerings include HP Passenger Service Solution, an inventory and reservations platform; HP Airline SOA Platform, with web services for airlines geared to integrate standalone data and apps into new services; and Virtual Private Cloud for "enterprise-grade cloud computing on a per-server basis..." HP states.
Mexico airline Interjet is currently using HP's Virtual Private Cloud in a hosted application to schedule pilot training slots for flight simulator use.
Adrian Peneda, Interjet's chief information officer says its use of the Virtual Private Cloud "has allowed us to reduce administration costs and increase productivity, while adding technology capacity as we grow."
Cook of HP says he doesn't envision airlines putting their entire PSS systems into the cloud, but they can integrate frequent flyer applications and e-commerce services, for example.
And, HP's cloud-based services support industry standards and SOA, he adds.
Some of the services can be consumed as a cloud-based offering and others can be hosted in airlines' own data centers with a variety of business models coming into play, Cook says.
HP is not alone in transitioning into cloud services in a big way. SITA, too, is heading into the clouds, for instance.
Meanwhile, HP is in the midst of eliminating 27,000 jobs, or 8% of its workforce, by October 2014, and Cook was asked how this impacts the airline side of its business.
Cook replied that some of the largest airlines in the world are HP clients and the company is fully committed to "and not walking away from its investments."