Gulf airline Kuwait Airways will undertake its long-awaited cutover to a new ticketing and reservations system this weekend.

The national carrier will put nine months of preparation, data transfers and staff training to the test as it switches to Amadeus Altéa.

According to Kuwait Airways director of IT and project director for Amadeus Implementation Abdulmunim Abdulsalam, the cutover represents a revolution of the way the airline interacts with passengers, as well as business and travel industry partners.

“Amadeus Altéa is a comprehensive passenger service system that will simplify and enhance all online and face-to-face business interactions between Kuwait Airways and our customers,” Abdulsalam said.

“We shopped around, looking at what other airlines are using. We made sure we went with a company that has a community [of users]. In the airline industry, you work with a community to get the benefit of shared ideas. There will be a huge difference in the way we do our business.” The new system, for example, will allow passengers to change dates of travel online, something that has previously required a trip to one of the airline’s offices.

“The project has been divided into two phases: First is inventory reservations, ticketing and loyalty system, which we will cutover to on the night of [May] 19-20 May; second is the departure control system, which will be introduced from June onward, starting with Kuwait Airways’ domestic and international stations.”

He added, “While the implementation process has been a huge undertaking, it is a once-in-a-generation exercise that was necessary for Kuwait Airways to undertake so that we can compete effectively in the modern aviation business environment.”

The airline warns there may be interruptions to reservation services as the cutover takes place.

The company urges customers avoid using its reservation services between 1900 local time on May 19 and 0600 May 20.

From the commercial perspective, Amadeus Altéa will help optimize sales, revenue generation and growth across multiple distribution channels, the airline said.

The introduction of the new system is the latest stage in efforts to revive the airline, which had fallen behind the curve in comparison to competitors in the Gulf.

The carrier is renewing its elderly fleet, thinning its workforce and planning a new terminal.

Alan Dron