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Innovation

Amadeus systems to sit on Linux by 2012

Airline IT systems and transactions business company Amadeus yesterday announced it will completely migrate its commercial airline transaction processing systems onto Linux by 2012, saying proprietary platforms were "very limiting" and criticised the lack of open standards in the industry.
Written by Colin Ho, Contributor on

Airline IT systems and transactions business company Amadeus yesterday announced it will completely migrate its commercial airline transaction processing systems onto Linux by 2012, saying proprietary platforms were "very limiting" and criticised the lack of open standards in the industry.

"We took the decision in the mid-nineties that for the long-term success of the company we have had to move off that very limiting, truly, legacy platform," described Amadeus' departing chief David V. Jones in a media roundtable to discuss the company's growth.

According to Jones, it will be the first airline IT systems company to move towards an "open" operating system, citing cost and flexibility as key drivers of this shift.

"In this we are unique. There is no other supplier of systems or users of systems that has moved as comprehensively as we have onto open software and that's important to us in terms of managing our cost and important to the customers in terms of flexibility."

The migration first started with the adoption of UNIX-based systems in 2000 and then onto Linux over the past few years.

Preaching what Amadeus practised, Jones criticised the airline industry's lack of standards in the way transactions are stored, handled and processed across multiple carriers.

"The fact is that the different airlines around the world have not yet agreed on any technical standards. So we're faced with dozens of airlines using different sets of standards for their own technical in-house solutions," he said, adding that it often meant that travel agents faced difficulties processing transactions from different airline companies.

According to Jones this was caused by airlines developing in-house software and being reluctant to adopt "ready-made" systems due to their desire for customised components.

"If a set of common standards had been put in place a year ago, the industry would be well ahead of what it is today," he said.

While the move to Linux means less business costs, to keep its systems running, Amadeus has been pumping increasingly higher amounts of funding into research and development for its products.

The company announced that it spent an approximate total of €1.285 billion in research and development over the period of 2004 to 2009.

Jones will be handing over the reins of company chief to the current deputy chief Luis Maroto in January 2011.

(Front page image credit: Larry Ewing)
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