BA expands Newcastle IT centre to help streamline back-office systems

British Airways is expanding operations at its IT centre in Newcastle, as it gears up to streamline its back-office systems and develop BA.com as its primary IT system.

British Airways is expanding operations at its IT centre in Newcastle, as it gears up to streamline its back-office systems and develop BA.com as its primary IT system.

The airline plans to hire 30 staff, including project managers and business analysts, to work on a raft of new projects designed to simplify BA’s operations.

The expansion comes after the airline began a programme to reduce its total headcount by 35%. Some 30 senior IT managers and 42 middle managers from IT will lose their jobs in the shake-up.

Paul Coby, chief information officer at BA, said the new staff in Newcastle would work on developing replacements for legacy back-office systems, such as payroll and flight crew support applications.

“At the moment we are upgrading our payroll system and reviewing how we can simplify procurement, human resources and finance systems. Like many airlines, we have built up a lot of legacy systems,” he said.

The Newcastle IT centre will also take responsibility for developing some aspects of the BA.com website, which will be redesigned and relaunched to make it easier for customers to buy tickets online, said Coby.

“We want Newcastle to provide end-to-end support for areas such as finance, human resources and procurement. This will give us the capability to take elements of the business and provide support from one centre,” he said.

The work will be tightly managed and controlled by staff in Newcastle, but some development and support work will be contracted to the airline’s four outsourcing partners in India, said Coby.

The company has worked with NIIT and TCS, and it appointed CMG and Capgemini as additional outsourcing partners earlier this year.

“Because the use of technology is so important to the airline, maintaining the overall control of how it is managed is important,” said Coby. “We will design the new systems in London and Newcastle. Elements may be developed overseas and some of the support may be done overseas.”

This was last published in June 2006

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