BRIEFLY DISCUSS THE THREE MAJOR CHALLENGES AROSE AFTER THE MERGER, I.E. THE CHALLENGE, POSSIBLE RELATED ISSUES AND THE SOLUTION THAT WAS USED TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM
Software required: Microsoft office, i.e. the assignment is to be completed in Word and converted to a PDF file (see page 4 below for more details).
NOTE: This assignment is worth 30 marks (scaled to 15% of your marks for the trimester) and is to be done individually.
Part A: Firstly read the passage below (Rainer et al. 2013, p. 70 -71), and answer question 1 which follows the passage of writing. Read the other articles provided below and answer questions 2 to 4, then complete part B.
In 2011, United Airlines and Continental Airlines merged to form the World’s largest airline. When buying Continental, United promised investors $1.2 billion in new revenue and cost Savings.
Unfortunately, merging airlines is extremely difficult, largely because of the enormous number of processes that can be different between two airlines. Three major challenges that arose after the United/Continental merger were (1) integrating both airlines’ flight information systems, (2) integrating both airlines’ passenger information Systems, and (3) reconciling both airlines speedupslowdown algorithms (an algorithm is a mathematical formula).
Flight information Systems. Integrating United and Continental’s flight information systems was a major strategic challenge. One Worry was that data would become corrupted during the integration of two systems, resulting in the loss of vital flight information such as destinations, arrival times, flight numbers, or plane locations.
In August 2010, the integration team decided that United’s existing flight information system, Unimatic, would be better able to handle the size of the merged airline’s fleet than Continental’s system. With that decision, a second team, composed of computer technicians and operations center managers, created an exhaustive list of tests and contingency plans to ensure that the data could be combined without causing a catastrophe. The airlines emergency operations center was fully staffed for the data cutover.
For the final test in late October 2011, the team had an empty Continental 737 fly from Houston to El Paso and back, just to test that the operations center could successfully track the flight. The team asked the pilots to pretend to have a mechanical problem and return to the gate. That event successfully appeared on the system. Then the team asked the pilots to change the flight number and reroute the plane to Austin to see if that event appeared in the system. It did. Encouraged by the dress rehearsal, the team set a date for the data integration.
On November 2, 2010, just after midnight when there would be relatively few flights in the air, technicians took Unimatic offline. They began inserting Continental’s data into Unimatic. For the next hour, as the technicians updated and tested the software, the operations center tracked the airline’s flights manually. That manual process would become impossible when air traffic rose to daytime levels, and the airline had plans for a mass cancellation the next morning if the system did not operate as planned.
At 1:23 AM, Unimatic went back online. There were a few small glitches-planes that had crossed the international dateline during the outage had an extra 24 hours added to their arrival time-but otherwise everything had worked.
The Passenger information Systems. At the time of the merger, the passenger information system was divided between both airlines’ databases. The integration team had to integrate not only the two databases, but also both airlines Web sites and loyalty programs. The team decided to adopt Continental’s passenger services system, called Shares.
Shares had several advantages over United’s old passenger information system, Apollo. Shares was more flexible and easier to customize (for instance, it was capable of asking travellers whether they would like to purchase an upgrade or extra legroom). On the flipside, Shares was less intuitive to use than Apollo, and United veterans struggled to learn it. All the dry runs proceeded smoothly, and just after New Year’s Day in 2011, United agents handled all of the Continental flights at Los Angeles International Airport without a problem.
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