Jetstar's new CIO to revise airline's IT strategy to cut cost

Jetstar has appointed Grainne Kearns as the company's new group chief financial information officer, following the departure of Stephen Tame.

Jetstar has announced that former Sensis CIO Grainne Kearns will step into its role of group chief information officer.

In her new role, Kearns will oversee the information technology functions for the five Jetstar branded airlines across the Asia Pacific region.

She will bring along with her six years of experience from Sensis, the advertising and media division of Telstra, where she was responsible for leading the Sensis business transformation program, as well as the establishment of an internal consulting division for Telstra.

Kearns told ZDNet there are initial plans to review the airline's IT functions in terms of strategy, platform, and supplier base to reduce cost.

"The overarching agenda for me is about leveraging technology to deliver the best service and customer experience in the low fares segment. Based on what I've seen so far in my review, I believe we can do this while also taking cost out of the business," she said.

Kearns' appointment follows the recent departure of Stephen Tame who finished up just over a month ago after nearly 10 years with the company. Unlike Tame who strongly believed in an outsource model, Kearne is also keen to take a cost to delivery approach, and potentially bring more functions in-house.

"It's now my job to cast a fresh set of eyes over the way we support the group and I'll be looking to optimise and innovate our service delivery. Having reviewed the way we operate, I believe there's scope for us to refine our sourcing strategy," Kearns said.

Previously, the company introduced SMS boarding passes , where video cameras were built into its self-service check-in kiosks, built by IBM, to recognise SMS messages, and conducted a roll out of iPads for in-flight entertainment across its domestic and international fleet.

Jetstar group chief financial officer Race Strauss said Kearns will be able to contribute to the IT arm of the business.

"Grainne is an outstanding CIO with a great track record leading multinational companies and she's the right person to help us navigate the transformation of our IT functions across the region," he said.

Kearns' approach to Jetstar will be similar to what rival airline Qantas has been doing. As part of its cost reduction program, Qantas aims to cut AU$2 billion from its bottom line through measures such as a capital expenditure and structural review. It even halted work on upgrading its IT system behind its frequent flyer program to cut costs.

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