Aegean Airlines S.A. is the largest Greek air-carrier in terms of passengers, destinations and fleet with one of the youngest fleets in Europe. With the addition of new destinations, the carrier services 53 regular routes in Greece and abroad. Through Aegean’s cooperation with Lufthansa, the airline has increased its reach by offering access to flights towards 200 additional destinations. Moreover, Aegean has been accepted, and is in the process of joining the STAR ALLIANCE, the largest international air carrier alliance. Recently, the Company was awarded the Skytrax World Airline award, as the best regional European airline for 2009. The airline needed to upgrade the legacy system, based on a series of “One to One” VPN Accounts. Selecting and implementation of the Intelligent Application Gateway was performed in 2008, when it was deemed that this particular solution would present significant benefits for the internal and external corporate environment.
Using technology to its maximum has been a constant bet for Aegean Airlines. This particular and ongoing goal, led the IT Department to enter into cooperation with Microsoft for the implementation of the Intelligent Application Gateway. It is worth noting that Aegean Airlines is the first airliner to implement the IAG solution on a European-wide level. This solution came as an upgrade to the legacy system, based on a series of “One to One” VPN Accounts. The main disadvantage of the legacy system is the need to manage each account individually.
Moreover, the airline needed to provide email accounts to all aircraft crew members. This was almost impossible to do through VPN accounts, given the significant time required to implement the project, as well as its problematic future administration.
Selecting and implementation of the Intelligent Application Gateway was performed in 2008, when it was deemed that this particular solution would present significant benefits for the internal and external corporate environment. At the same time, a significant factor
||The Intelligent Application Gateway is a critical tool for the administration of our operations.
||Mr. Aris Kamvisis
in this choice was the Microsoft seal of reliability and security, as well as the innovation it offers through its products and services. The implementation took six months through the collaboration of the Aegean Airlines IT department and Microsoft executives.
The only requirement to use the system is having access to the internet. Users visit a specific website where they log-on with their username and password. After password authentication the users can search for information related to them, according to their responsibilities and access levels. For example, internal users can receive and send emails, can be updated on reservations, flight plans, intranet alerts, on the pilots' training program as well as on information related to the technical database. Respectively, external users can get updates on reservations and they can have tickets issued.
On an internal use level, the system is used by all Aegean Airlines personnel, offering access to electronic correspondence as well as the intranet. Moreover, it provides different teams with the ability to get updates on the issues that concerns them, depending on their responsibilities.
The crew, and more specifically the pilots, can get updates on matters such as flight plans as well as critical statistical data. For example, data concerning flights, the flight crew schedule, updates and messages, as well as the training history.
The engineers also benefit from the implementation of Intelligent Application Gateway since they can now access information and get updates on issues related to the technical knowledge database. Specifically, they are provided with technical reference material as well as repair and maintenance documentations.
Aegean Airlines’ management received a valuable tool for internal administration since it is now in a position to make decisions faster, utilizing to the maximum the wealth and comprehensive organization of information, which is available in real time even for remote users.
One more important function relates to the Aegean Airlines’ call center. More specifically, in times of increased workload, when the company assigns the handling of incoming calls to an external partner, Intelligent Application Gateway allows the partner’s personnel to have immediate access to the reservation system and thus to be able to serve efficiently Aegean Airlines’ customers.
The Intelligent Application Gateway has benefited those partners abroad who issue tickets or have access to the Aegean Airlines reservation systems. Specific partners can gain access to the central system, namely the group sales partner group, by simply using their unique password.
The most significant business benefit is the capacity for real time updates, as well as the ability to access information through remote use. As a result, executives can make decisions even when they are traveling.
||Since day one of the system’s operation, we realized that the decision to choose Intelligent Application Gateway was immensely successful and offered an immediate return on our investment.
||Mr. Aris Kamvisis
Ease of use is another great advantage. Existing users continued to receive updates on the information in which they were interested by using the already supplied active password from the legacy system, while new users were provided with new passwords. Additionally, the connection process has been simplified as the use of a VPN is no longer required.
On a technical level, the Intelligent Application Gateway is an extremely reliable and fully inter-operable system, not only with other Microsoft systems already in use by the company, but also with third party products or applications that were developed internally, within Aegean Airlines. This way the IT department’s administration complexity and cost has been reduced significantly, thanks to the grouping of users and settings so that it is no longer necessary to administer each account individually. Also, due to the existence of a centralized administration, the need to intervene locally on computers has been minimized both in the case of users as well as administrators. Lastly, an equally important aspect is the ability to differentiate the access rights for each application, depending on the user and the access point (e.g. company laptop or personal computer).
Aegean Airlines intends to invest further in the Intelligent Application Gateway and its new version, “Forefront Unified Access Gateway”, in order to significantly reduce downtime during system updates and upgrades.
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