Page Two

By eweek  |  Posted 2003-04-07 Print this article Print

In terms of outsourcing, youve brought some functions back into your organization that had been outsourced. Why?

Management of midrange and desktop [systems],, Jetnet—we brought all those things back in-house because we wanted to bring the intelligence back to American Airlines. The history of American Airlines, by the way, is pure leadership in the industry. American Airlines [with Sabre] created modern-day networking along with companies like AT&T [Corp.] at the time.

We invented what the rest of the industry has copied in Sabre. We invented the ... loyalty program with our AAdvantage miles. We pioneered revenue management, the idea that you can manage seats on a plane and manage revenue in a way that maximizes the availability of product for customers in different tiers and maximizes the profitability of seats and customers for the airline. We invented all of those things. We are in the process of getting back to a place in our existence where we are leading the industry with all of those things again, with electronic ticketing being just one aspect of that.

How much time do you spend examining Web services and similar emerging technologies?

We spend quite a bit of time examining the marketplace and understanding whats new in the marketplace. ... We dont spend an inordinate amount of time doing it, though, because we dont want to focus [just] on everything thats coming down the road in the future. Because I find [that] companies or people who do that tend to constantly be doing that, and they spend a lot less time implementing whats there today. So when we take a look at problems to solve, we put a box around the problem and a box around the technology [thats available] today. Whats implementable, shippable, practical today, that is not necessarily the leading edge on everything?

[The urge to always be on the leading edge of technology] has often kept the IT function from being as productive as it can be. It creates an environment where those kinds of companies and those kinds of people are constantly justifying their existence and justifying the value of IT. We dont spend any time justifying the value of IT around here. None. We dont do studies. We dont do white papers. We dont have tribunals, nor are we brought before a court of decision makers. Everybody at American knows what the value of technology is because its such an integral part of the airline, and every product and every service has technology embedded into it. We have a technology-centric focus starting with our chairman. We have technology-literate employees. And, most importantly, we deliver what we say we are going to deliver.

Most Recent eWEEK Interviews:


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel