The newly minted Virgin Australia is set to overhaul one of its core IT platforms in an attempt to leverage its network of code-sharing partnerships and better integrate frequent flyer recognition.
Airline CEO John Borghetti announced today that Virgin would upgrade its flight booking back-end to the Sabre Customer Sales and Service system built and backed by SabreSonic. It is set to handle reservation, sales, electronic ticketing, guest recognition, inventory management operations, as well as check-in and departure control.
The IT overhaul is part of Virgin Australia's "game change" program designed to make the airline a market leader, Borghetti told shareholders and analysts at the company's annual general meeting. He added that the move to a single, integrated IT platform for the airline's operations would allow customers to book flights on any of the airline's code-sharing partners seamlessly, including Etihad and Air New Zealand.
"Using the Sabre system will enable us to support integrated ticketing with our Alliance partners, and provide an elevated level of recognition for our customers," Borghetti said.
Sankar Narayan, CFO of Virgin Australia, said that the new system is critical to completing the "game change" program.
"This next step is critical in realising our strategic vision of becoming one integrated airline and providing a seamless travel experience for guests across our global airline network.
"The Sabre system will enhance our performance capabilities across our business, enable us to support integrated ticketing with our Alliance partners and provide an elevated level of recognition for our customers. Importantly, it will support the excellent work our team members already do in providing our guests with a first-rate travel experience," Narayan said.
Virgin Australia's program team is to work in tandem with the Sabre team to ensure a seamless deployment, the CFO said, with the company adding that it expects to complete the roll-out by March 2013.
Technology hasn't always been the friend of Virgin Australia in the last 12 months, with an outage in the Navitaire New Skies check-in platform having plagued the airline back in September 2010, stranding customers at airports for days at a time.
Borghetti today openly admitted at the annual general meeting that system outages had presented the airline with problems.