Flight Centre to consolidate IT systems

Flight Centre plans to consolidate its information technology systems to a uniform platform following its announcement of a single international corporate brand.Flight Centre Limited managing director Graham Turner said the creation of FCm Travel Solutions -- under which the company's AU$1.

Flight Centre plans to consolidate its information technology systems to a uniform platform following its announcement of a single international corporate brand.

Flight Centre Limited managing director Graham Turner said the creation of FCm Travel Solutions -- under which the company's AU$1.5 billion stable of corporate brands servicing several countries would be consolidated -- would entail development of a uniform information technology platform.

FCm general manager Anthony Grigson told ZDNet Australia   the company's Sydney technology group will be looking at developing an online portal tool and enhanced back-office system as the first stage of building the uniform IT platform. The company is are hoping to integrate all their systems within 2 to 3 years, starting with the consolidation of Australia and New Zealand's platforms by the first half of 2005.

Grigson said the uniform IT platform will allow FCm Travel solutions to "improve productivity and manage clients across the regions." He said the new platform allows service levels to clients to be more broad-ranging as, no matter where they travel, their information will be retained and updated on a common platform.

A corporate business in Sydney called Internet Travel Group, which owns Lumina Technologies, was bought by Flight Centre Limited in 2001. The group is now part of Flight Centre's in-house technology group and will be handling development of the corporate tools.

Turner said FCm would become the corporate flagship, as the first Asia-Pacific-based global travel management company.

The new international brand includes the Corporate Traveller, SBT, Stage&Screen, Ci Events, Campus Travel and Kistend Travel brands, AIT in Hong Kong, the company's China joint venture and, eventually, the TQ3 businesses in Australasia and the United Kingdom.

Flight Centre Limited will also expand FCm globally by licensing the same to local operators overseas and, in some cases, strategic acquisition.

"Now we will build on this presence by taking advantage of licensing and strategic acquisition opportunities in the three major corporate regions -- Asia Pacific, UK-Europe-Middle East-Africa and the Americas -- to develop a comprehensive worldwide network," Turner said.

Grigson said licensees would be handpicked in key international markets, with a network development team already in place.

"Licensees will remain the key drivers of business performance in their markets and will gain access to new tools to incorporate into their successful businesses to ensure FCm customers receive better options and better service through our mix of local choice and global support," he said.

The TQ3 Travel Solutions businesses in Australia, New Zealand and the UK will be rebranded after Flight Centre Limited satisfies existing licensing arrangements with TQ3. These arrangements will expire at the end of 2004 in Australia and New Zealand and at the end of 2008 in the UK.

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