IBM Cloud wins American Airlines deal

American Airlines is planning to move some of its internal applications to IBM's infrastructure- and platform-as-a-service offerings.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

American Airlines has selected IBM Cloud to be a service provider as it moves its internal applications to the public cloud.

The airline has said that it was looking to move some of its customer web site and back office applications to the public cloud. American Airlines was evaluating Amazon Web Services, IBM, and Microsoft.

Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

IBM said that American will use its infrastructure- and platform-as-a-service tools. "We will be partnering with American Airlines and kicking off at the enterprise level. Some will be customer facing systems as well as back office," said Patrick Grubbs, vice president of travel and transportation at IBM Cloud.

American Airlines told the Wall Street Journal about its cloud bake off in September and noted a deal would be announced soon.

For IBM, the American Airlines win comes amid AWS' re:Invent conference in Las Vegas. Grubbs added that part of the IBM deal with American revolves around agile development. American may include other cloud providers, but Grubbs noted that the airline wasn't looking to break its infrastructure into chunks.

According to American Airlines, the cloud move is part of a much broader systems integration effort following the merger with US Airways.

American noted in its annual report:

While we have to date successfully integrated several of our systems, including our customer reservations system and our pilot and fleet scheduling system, we still have to complete several additional important system integration projects. The integration of these systems in a number of prior airline mergers has taken longer, been more disruptive and cost more than originally forecast.

The implementation process to integrate these various systems will involve a number of risks that could adversely impact our business, results of operations and financial condition. New systems will replace multiple legacy systems and the related implementation will be a complex and time-consuming project involving substantial expenditures for implementation consultants, system hardware, software and implementation activities, as well as the transformation of business and financial processes.

Related: Outages and delays highlight how airline industry needs new IT approaches

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