Amadeus has begun offering a cloud service on the Google Compute infrastructure as a service (IaaS) platform to prevent the back-end flight-booking systems of the airlines from being overloaded by internet requests.
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Traditionally, checking for seat availability – known as airline inventory – was mainly used by travel agents, but the growth of automated internet searches is putting airline IT systems under excessive strain.
The airline ‘look-to-book’ ratio, which represents the average number of search requests before a flight booking is actually made, used to be around 10:1; now it's as high as 1,000:1, according to Amadeus.
Christophe Defayet, director of R&D, airline IT at Amadeus, said: “The problem we faced in the past year is the look-to-book ratio has increased. For the travel industry, we are trying to bring the best availability across all channels.”
Caching flight inventory data to buffer internet-based queries is not effective, according to Roland Schuetz, senior vice president and CIO of information passage at Lufthansa: “Cache-based systems within major shopping engines have certain limitations, and they do not accurately reflect our sophisticated revenue management policies.”
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To overcome the limitations of caching, Amadeus has developed the Airline Cloud Availability service, which uses the Couchbase NoSQL database. According to Amadeus, the cloud-based system can help airlines cope with the huge increase in search and shopping volumes. The service additionally applies dynamic revenue management strategies.
Piloted earlier this year by Lufthansa, Amadeus Airline Cloud Availability has been run on the Google Cloud Platform IaaS and enables instances of airline data and revenue management logic to be deployed remotely in the cloud, across continents to serve local demand.
By synchronising the airline’s central systems and the distributed instances of the airline’s availability calculation in real-time, Lufthansa said consumers can search and shop for offers more efficiently and receive 100% accurate results of the airline’s availability. At the same time, the airline is able to respond to the exponential growth in online flight queries.
The service can be scaled up on demand to meet airline and channel needs, offering flexibility and efficiency, Amadeus said. Combined with highly automated cloud infrastructure, it copes with any search peak, which means airlines do not need to anticipate such peaks several months in advance.
“Amadeus is in a unique position to provide this ready-made solution to all airlines, including our Altea PSS customers, deploying and operating the same software in distributed instances with native data synchronisation,” explains Herve Couturier, executive vice president of R&D at Amadeus. “Importantly, this includes the application of the most advanced 'origin-and-destination' revenue management logic.”
Airline Cloud Availability was successfully piloted by Lufthansa in the second quarter of 2015, easily absorbing a 20-fold increase in transaction volumes. “We are thrilled with the initial results of the pilot, which has allowed us to be better prepared for the future,” says Schuetz. “This solution combines our airline industry expertise, along with Amadeus technology leadership to deploy a fully scalable remote instance of our content within the proven Google Cloud Platform. With the continuous proliferation of digital channels, this future-proof innovation has opened a new era in real-time merchandising.”