Star Alliance Goes All-In on AWS to Support their Air Travel Activities

Bit Ninja

Star Alliance

Star Alliance, one of the world’s largest airline alliances, is going all-in on AWS. The air travel alliance is moving all of its IT infrastructure to AWS Cloud to enhance performance and become a more agile company in the cloud.

Star Alliance is working with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) – an AWS Partner Network Premier Consulting Partner – to migrate all of its data, platforms, and business-critical applications to AWS. Star Alliance will close its own data centers. It would reduce the alliance’s infrastructure total cost of ownership (TCO).

The airline alliance is using AWS’s capabilities – including analytics, security, managed databases, storage, and machine learning – to provide its 26 member airlines with real-time insights. This would help improve the global travel experience for their passengers.

By migrating to AWS, Star Alliance is gaining the agility to immediately optimize its existing infrastructure use and costs to meet the changing demands around worldwide air travel, especially in response to COVID-19. When quarantine orders and travel restrictions went into effect, the company instantly reduced its infrastructure footprint and spend “by 30%”, scaling down its use of AWS rather than paying for excess on-premises capacity.

“We decided to go all-in on AWS to gain the reliability and scalability we needed to support the increasing number of global travelers joining the alliance each year, but the pandemic also proved how valuable it is to have a flexible and agile infrastructure in the cloud,” said Jeremy Drury, Head of Digital & Technology at Star Alliance. “No one could have predicted what has happened so far in 2020, but because of our collaboration with AWS, we were able to quickly adjust our goals and scale back our expenses. In addition to cost savings and elasticity, AWS gives us the most comprehensive set of cloud services to innovate rapidly, introduce new services to keep travelers safe, and continuously reinvent the global travel experience.”

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Star Alliance

12 Million Transactions per Month

By running on AWS, Star Alliance would now be able to introduce applications in half the time, leveraging Amazon Elastic Container Service with AWS Fargate (a serverless compute engine for containers that makes it easy to build applications) – to power services that make travel easier and safer for passengers. For example, Star Alliance created a baggage tracking application that uses Amazon Aurora (AWS’s relational database built for the cloud) to process data from multiple airline baggage systems. It delivers operational dashboards and centralized reporting so that airline customer service agents can track bags at airports around the world.

In addition, the ‘Star Alliance Inter Airline Through Check-in Hub’ application – an application that processes and analyzes more than 12 million transactions per month during peak periods and runs on AWS – would make the check-in process seamless for travelers. It enables passengers to check-in and receive boarding passes for multi-stop journeys across Star Alliance member airlines.

Analyze Future Travel Demand and Trends

Photo Jeremy Drury, Head of Digital & Technology at Star Alliance
“We decided to go all-in on AWS to gain the reliability and scalability we needed to support the increasing number of global travelers joining the alliance each year, but the pandemic also proved how valuable it is to have a flexible and agile infrastructure in the cloud,” said Jeremy Drury, Head of Digital & Technology at Star Alliance.

Star Alliance is using AWS analytics and databases, including Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), Amazon Athena (AWS’s serverless, interactive query service that uses standard SQL), and Amazon QuickSight (AWS’s business intelligence service) – to identify future travel demand and trends, as well as improve customer experiences.

The Alliance’s Transfer Decision Tool helps its member airlines manage at-risk flight connections in real time so that they can take proactive action – such as fast-tracking a passenger through customs and immigration – to quickly transfer customers and their baggage to a connecting flight. This tool complements the Alliance’s new Connections Service (a mobile app that guides travelers with the fastest path to their departure gate and unlocks airport Fast Track lanes when connections are tight). This would provide a faster, contactless airport experience.

In addition, by migrating its legacy databases to Amazon Aurora, Star Alliance would enable its members’ customer service teams to make quick, informed decisions. It would also help them process frequent flyer reward requests faster and take passenger preferences into account to provide personalized travel experiences.

Machine Learning

Moving forward, Star Alliance plans to create a data lake on Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) that will centralize data access for member airlines to accelerate the development of enterprise applications and customer features. Star Alliance will then be able to apply AWS machine learning services, such as Amazon SageMaker (AWS’s service that enables data scientists and developers to build, train, and deploy machine learning models quickly), to the consolidated data – to add value like preventing loyalty-related fraud across the members’ frequent flyer networks.

“By going all-in on AWS, Star Alliance is leveraging the elasticity of the cloud to take advantage of industry trends and pivot their operations in order to respond to drastically changing market dynamics,” said David Peller, Managing Director, Travel and Hospitality at Amazon Web Services (AWS). “Star Alliance is a prime example of a global organization that has successfully embraced the cloud to steer through times of uncertainty. As the world anticipates opening up again, we are excited to work with Star Alliance as they leverage AWS’s comprehensive suite of services to innovate new offerings at scale while raising the bar for what is possible for the next era of global air travel.”

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