British Airways Engineering is investing in excess of £25m in a SAP system to automate the management of its world-wide aircraft maintenance operations.
The project, the largest UK investment in SAP to date, is expected to pay for itself in three years by reducing stocks of spare parts and improving business efficiency.
British Airways plans to replace more than 150 legacy systems, some up to 25 years old, with IBM hardware running the SAP R/3 industry and defence solution over the next two years.
"We are expecting not only to achieve considerable savings and efficiencies with mySAP.com, but also to break new ground in the global management of engineering," said Jim O'Sullivan technical and quality director at British Airways.
The system will provide 8,000 British Airways staff with access to technical manuals, drawings, details of spare parts in stock and aircraft maintenance schedules through desktop computers fitted with Web browsers. It is also expected to link BA with supplier companies.
"It will speed up aircraft maintenance by providing workers with instant access all the information they need," said Martin Boiling, partner with PriceWaterhouseCoopers, which is managing the project.
British Airways also plans to use the system to analyse data from monitoring equipment fitted in aircraft to predict when parts are likely to fail. The system will record the history of parts in each aircraft.
A team of up to 100 people from British Airways, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, SAP and EDS, which manages the airline's legacy systems are working on the installation.
British Airways plans to implement the system in stages, with the first phase going live in October and the final stage becoming operational by the end of next year.