Spanish national airline Iberia is to spend $47.8m this year on computer technology, a 16% increase on 1988’s $41m computing budget. In 1986, Iberia budgeted $12m together with a $320,000 grant from the Ministry of Industry, for an artificial intelligence project to develop two expert systems, the turnover improvement support system SAMI and an Air […]
Spanish national airline Iberia is to spend $47.8m this year on computer technology, a 16% increase on 1988’s $41m computing budget. In 1986, Iberia budgeted $12m together with a $320,000 grant from the Ministry of Industry, for an artificial intelligence project to develop two expert systems, the turnover improvement support system SAMI and an Air Route Allocation System. The SAMI system is already in use producing automatic advice previously given by a team of experts. Information from Iberia’s Resiber III reservations system is entered into SAMI which produces reports on reservations between two given dates. The files with the flight information needing analysis then get sent via the Iberia communications network to a Texas Instruments Inc Explorer computer containing the expert reservations system Seres, which analyses each flight at an average speed of 30 seconds, and gives advice to be used in Resiber III. Seres takes 1,500 decisions per day involving 500 flights and Iberia claims it could increase profits by $2.6m a year. The Explorer I runing Seres is also to replaced by an Explorer II this year, whilst the company has already started developing the second expert system, for which another Explorer II will be acquired. Iberia’s present computer inventory includes two IBM 3090-120E mainframes, to be replaced this year by 3090/170S, for administration, personnel, and equipment, two IBM 4381/MO3s, two IBM 4381/Q13s, four Unisys 1100/94s (to be replaced this year by a 2200/603 and a 2200/602), and four Unisys 1100/84s. For departmental support, the company has five IBM Series 1 minis, and for equipment two IBM 8100s, and also various DEC PDP-11s. With regard to office equipment, the company has a pilot project in its operational management based on IBM AS/400s and connected to the central computers. Iberia’s communication network consists of a private broadcasting line and a production system with an average of 500m passenger transactions per year (that’s 70 per second) and 60m cargo transactions. Telcon3 and Telcon5/6 screen term nodes will be added to the existing nine communication nodes. The company is also connected to the SITA Society of International Air Transport operators network, a private telegraph network with IATA format with gateways to Iberpac and Savia. Thus, the reservation system is connected to 600 agencies with the potential to link up with 1,500, and has direct access networks dedicated to IBM and Unisys systems, but these will soon disappear when the central systems are connected via Hyperchannel. Complications in the network derive from its size and the amount of connections to different makes of terminals, however, problems with X25 for example, are slowly resolving themselves so that the network is now said to be as efficient as RSAN. Amadeus Finally, the airline is to install a fibre optic cable in the next six to eight months connecting Madrid Airport with Iberia’s industrial zone. Iberia claims that computer equipment installation, particularly over the last three years has led to the company’s recent excellent results with a current turnover of $2,820m. However, Iberia’s computer costs are only 2% of its total costs and are below the European average. Nevertheless, the Spanish company continues to be quite avant-garde in relation to other European airlines and it is now involved with Lufthansa, Air France and Scandinavian Airlines System on the Amadeus project to replace their in-house Unisys 1100-based reservation systems with a single giant IBM system, and Iberia will invest $270m in it. Phase I of the project involved the connection of terminals to Eastern Airlines’ centre and Phase II will be to unify the US and European codes by 1990. Iberia claims that it was the first to make the connection to Eastern Airlines. Unisys Corp continues to win new business from its airline customers, with Finnair going for the new USAS 2000 system, and Air Canada for the full USAS Cargo Management system. Both are taking new DCP communications processors.