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From build to buy: American Airlines changes modernization course midflight

Robert L. Mitchell and Johanna Ambrosio | Jan. 3, 2013
American Airlines was well into a simultaneous revamp of its Passenger Services System (PSS) and Flight Operating System (FOS), its two most mission-critical families of applications, when the airline changed course last January.

While work is progressing, American has no firm date for moving completely off the Sabre system and shutting off the mainframe. As new applications are added, "we pull things out of the mainframe," Hassell says. The airline can slow down or speed up development as resources -- especially money -- allow.

For American, it's a slow, deliberate and very collaborative process with the business that focuses on both business process change and the trade-offs involved when moving from a highly customized, homegrown system to buying off-the-shelf software. Collaboration with all stakeholders is essential, says Hassell. "That partnership is what makes us more effective."


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