BEA strikes deal with global airline consortium

Applications infrastructure company BEA Systems has signed a five-year deal to sell its software to a global airline consortium...

Applications infrastructure company BEA Systems has signed a five-year deal to sell its software to global airline consortium Star Alliance, whose members will be able to exploit group purchasing discounts.

The 15-member airline network includes high-profile carriers such as United Airlines and Lufthansa. While both those airlines are already BEA customers, other members have never had a relationship with the company before.

Star Alliance members and the alliance itself have developed ticketing, baggage-handling and customer-loyalty software applications on the BEA WebLogic Platform in recent years. Under the agreement, BEA's WebLogic Server and WebLogic Integration will become the alliance's preferred application server and integration software respectively.

"This is the first time we've sold to companies that weren't financially linked or subsidiaries," said Mark Carges, executive vice president of global accounts. "They're not tied to one another except they've joined the Star Alliance. We'll do volume purchase agreements they can use across the enterprise."

Carges declined to estimate the range of savings any given company will enjoy.

He noted that the Star Alliance has used its buying clout in the past to purchase things such as jet fuel, as well as identity protection software from Novell.

"We are always looking for new and meaningful ways to help our members operate more profitably and efficiently," said Star Alliance chief information officer Michael Stagl.

"This agreement with BEA gives our 15 members the opportunity to introduce BEA's innovative application platform suite at a cost that no single airline would be able to negotiate."

Carges said BEA is open to similar deals with other industry groups, but there are "none at this time to speak of".

Marc L Songini writes for Computerworld

Read more on Business applications