BA looks to boost customer service

British Airways is trying to catch up with the efficiency of low-cost airlines through a number of IT initiatives.

British Airways is trying to catch up with the efficiency of low-cost airlines through a number of IT initiatives.

Several IT projects announced by BA aimed at improving customer service are in line with industry best practice and should provide a return on investment if managed well, analysts said.

Tony Lock, chief analyst at Bloor Research, said BA ranked mid-table in the airline industry in its use of innovative technology. The new breed of low-cost airlines such as EasyJet and Ryanair have more advanced electronic ticketing, he said.

The latest technology initiatives at BA, which have cut its IT budget by about £75m in the past few years, include plans to achieve 100% electronic ticketing by the end of 2004, and updating and consolidating the software that supports booking and check-in. More than 150 self-service kiosks will also be rolled out through a deal with IBM.

Lock said cash-strapped airlines worldwide are introducing technology such as electronic ticketing in a bid to reduce overheads.

Earlier this year BA signed an eight-year contract with IT services company Banctec to capture and key in 36 million ticket details in the first year, and establish an archive of 200 million ticket images, accessible to 2,000 users worldwide.

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