IT challenge ahead as BA and Iberia merge

The IT departments at British Airways and Iberia have some hard work ahead of them after the two airlines announced they are to merge.

The IT departments at British Airways and Iberia have some hard work ahead of them after the two airlines announced they are to merge.

The lack of standardisation between most airline IT systems is likely to make the job a tough one. BA has been in merger talks with both Quantas and Iberia airlines for months and although it is too early to say how integrated the two companies' systems will become, it is likely some of them will need to be interoperable.

Robert Morgan, a consultant at Hamilton Bailey, said there are very few common systems in the airline industry.

"It will be a huge task for any airlines to merge systems. This is because many have developed them in their own way," he said.

The proposed merger will see both companies retain their brands and create a new holding company, TopCo.

The new airline group will have 419 aircraft and fly to 205 destinations. In 2008, British Airways and Iberia carried 62 million passengers and, in their last financial years, their joint revenues were approximately €15bn. The merger is expected to be completed in late 2010.

British Airways said consumers will be offered better flight frequencies, more destinations and connections and more competitive prices.

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