- Connect with third parties easily and incorporate new services and new technologies into your reservation and distribution system. Integration with third party airport check-in kiosks and establishing booking services with travel distributors are just two examples of what you can do with New Skies Web Services.
- Handle demand load spikes and scale easily as your passenger volume increases
- Leverage the world's most proven, high-capacity airline Internet booking engine to increase your direct sales
- Slash time to market for enhancements and new features"
Virgin Blue - as well as many thousands of business and personal travelers - will be questioning just how accurate these claims are with the system crashing for the second time in as many days.
Flights were again delayed this morning during the busy peak flight time from 5:10am to 7:00am while Virgin Blue staff struggled to cope with manual check-in processes.
Virgin Blue has placed the blame with its provider, Accenture subsidiary Navitaire, and is considering legal action.
Navitaire's flagship products include its New Skies and Open Skies online reservations and ticketing systems. Virgin Blue has been using New Skies software since June after a two-year $11m transition from the earlier Open Skies platform. Ironically New Skies was chosen partly because the platform appeared capable of supporting the airline's growth.
New Skies .NET platform is consistent with Accenture's reputation as a Microsoft Windows shop, although the question must be asked as to whether the technology is up to the job following previous defections from Microsoft to Linux such as that of notable high-volume enterprise, the London Stock Exchange.
iTWire sought to obtain a statement from Navitaire but the Australian telephone number diverted to a U.S. call centre, where a perplexed operator asked me to e-mail a request so they could determine the correct department who should respond.
The operator was initially reluctant to discuss any matters unless I had a specific trouble ticket number, but did eventually concede Navitaire had experienced "some issues with Virgin Blue earlier today".
A Virgin Blue spokesperson told iTWire that Navitaire was supposed to have a parallel system in place and in case of disaster this would go live within three hours. However, it did not actually come into play until almost a full day after the first incident.
Today's faults apparently arose from a failure during testing of the newly commissioned replacement system.
The spokesperson said Navitaire is preparing a detailed report for Virgin Blue executives on what went wrong. In the meantime, Virgin Blue has stated they will seek compensation from Navitaire but 'at this time our guests are our first priority.'