Emirates Airline bolstering its services with IBM deal

IBM, a leader in IT, and Emirates Airline, a regional leader in air travel, are partnering to give fliers better service and support when they book flights through the UAE-based international airline. 

Recent news reports said that under the 10-year technology services agreement worth $300 million, IBM will provide the airline with mainframe and storage services delivered through an infrastructure-as-a-service model. Services will include a passenger service system (PSS) and a suite of tools enhanced to provide a variety of assistance with reservations, inventory, check-in, ticketing and the acquisition of updated flight information.

“Emirates Airline has selected IBM technology to provide its travelers with the benefit of reliable, secure ticketing and gate information when and where they need it, anywhere in the world.” a June 7 press statement said.

IBM also talks about apps that support the API economy - packaging business functions and services in application programming interfaces (APIs), an idea that promotes having a more centralized yet diverse architecture that can connect across various vendor models. Experts said that IBM’s services will help the airline make its own apps, but also point out that this type of deal is not unheard of within the industry. It’s not even the first major deal that IBM has made: in October 2015, the firm inked an agreement with Etihad Air for $700 million.

However, all of that might not be enough. Commentary on the Motley Fool paints a picture of a tech firm in trouble:

“IBM's partnerships with Emirates and Etihad are encouraging, but the company will need a lot more partnerships to keep pace with Amazon and Microsoft in the ongoing cloud platform wars," the commentary said. "These partnerships also probably won't help IBM reverse its 16 straight quarters of sales declines, which is the crucial figure which most investors are watching for hints of a turnaround.”

As for Emirates, the airline seems to be doing well for itself.

The new technology services agreement complements the track record of Emirates Airline as a premier carrier of international passengers.

Edmund Herod of Houston Community College has flown Emirates Airline and other regional carriers as an employee of the Qatari government. When Houston Community College set up a satellite campus in Doha, a Qatar government agency provided Herod and other staff members with airline reservations and helped arrange their travel to and from the Middle East. Although Herod primarily flew with Qatar Airways, he also took Emirates Airline flights on occasion.

“Emirates is one of the best airlines in the world.” Herod told the Gulf News Journal on Thursday. “Their planes are new, their crews are well-trained, their service is impeccable. It is truly in keeping with what they advertise. I'm impressed.”

Even on coach flights, Herod said, passengers enjoyed roomy seats and capable service. Security services, he said, were generally fast, yet capable.

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