The Qantas board has approved agreements for a new engineering and maintenance platform to replace the ill-fated, $40 million Jetsmart system. The news comes as the carrier announced its technology and communication costs jumped $49 million in the first half of 2007-08.
Qantas announced an interim net profit of $618 million, more than double the $308 million last time but booked a $49 million lift in IT costs in the same period.
Chief financial officer Peter Gregg said board approval for the new system, known internally as Project Marlin, had been given yesterday.
Mr Gregg said Qantas had selected systems from airline industry specialist Mxi, which would be delivered in partnership with IBM.
The Marlin project will replace an engineering system known as Jetsmart, which has come under heavy fire from engineers and their unions as being unusable, and has in the past been the subject of industrial action.
"The contracts are being worked on at the moment but we are moving towards replacing [Jetsmart] and moving to an integrated solution to our maintenance systems," he said.
It was planned the first aircraft-specific module of the new system would be introduced with the arrival of the Airbus A380 in the Qantas fleet later this year, Mr Gregg said. "The system will then expand to meet all our new fleet types and our existing fleet types as well," he said.
Qantas revealed in the first-half results that its computer and communication costs had climbed to $236.3 million, up from $187.3 million in the same period in 2006.
Factors fuelling the increase included costs associated with Qantas's move to source maintenance work for older, "legacy" IT systems to India, Mr Gregg said.
He said Qantas had also "ramped up" spending on its eQ project, as well as spending on a project known as Triton, which is designed to deliver the company's next-generation departure control system.
Fairfax Business Media
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