EDS soars on $1.5B Continental contract extension

Electronic Data Systems Corp. on Tuesday announced an eight-year, $1.

Electronic Data Systems Corp. on Tuesday announced an eight-year, $1.5 billion extension of an IT services deal with Continental Airlines that was first established in 1991.

Under terms of the deal with Continental, the nation's fifth largest airline, EDS will manage the airline's IT infrastructure, including reservation systems, legacy application development and maintenance, and network and voice services. Help desk and desktop support will be among the expanded services.

A key part of the contract includes inter-airline electronic ticketing and check-in. Continental has alliances with carriers in North America, Latin America and Asia. Many airlines are aiming for seamless services across alliances partners as one of their top IT goals. EDS worked on IT projects to support Continental's alliances with Northwest Airlines, America West Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Alitalia, Air France, Copa Airlines and others.

The contract is one of the company's largest in the transportation industry, as well as one of the biggest since the state of Connecticut aborted a planned $1 billion, seven-year IT outsourcing deal with EDS.

EDS is also reorganizing worldwide to try and improve customer contact and increase revenues. In a move to capture new customers, EDS also recently launched a new ad campaign, its first since the early 1990s.

EDS, of Plano, Texas, can be reached at www.eds.com.