American Airlines decides to cruise into Azure's cloud

So that's who to blame when its IT crashes, huh?


American Airlines named Microsoft Azure its preferred cloud platform this week in a deal it says will cut costs, boost efficiency, and support its eco-sustainability goals.

The multi-year partnership will see American migrate its data warehousing and legacy applications to a single operations hub on Azure.

The airline touts the partnership as an opportunity to use data and analytics to improve operations. American believes this will allow it to speed up bag tracking, enable preemptive rerouting based on weather conditions, and simulate larger changes using digital twins.

The collaboration builds on a longstanding relationship between Microsoft and the US airline. Previously, American tapped the Redmond goliath to develop an extension to Microsoft Teams it calls ConnectMe. The mobile application eliminates the need for support staff, who are rarely tied to a desk, to access applications at fixed desktops or laptops.

The airline claims the application has already helped accelerate airplane turnaround times at gates, something vital for profitability.

And this spring, American deployed an “intelligent” gating program, built on Azure, at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport that it says eliminates the need for manual gate planning. The program analyzes multiple data points for every landing and departure and automatically assigns aircraft to the nearest gate.

American plans to roll out the gating program its other hub airports later this year in support of its sustainability targets. The airline aims to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 by embracing sustainable business practices, and fielding more efficient aircraft and fuels.

While American plans to migrate a wide array of workloads to Azure over the next few years, the biz is taking steps to mitigate potential disruptions to its critical services.

Microsoft Azure generally aims for 99.99 percent uptime, though the cloud provider has occasionally experienced turbulence. About a year ago, Azure Active Directory (AAD) experienced an extended outage after a cryptographic key was mistakenly removed.

“We work with all of our technology partners to ensure reliability of applications and have contingency plans in place for our critical applications associated with our operations,” an American Airlines spokesperson told The Register.

So at least according to American, your flight shouldn’t be delayed the next time Azure takes a nose dive. Yeah, and pigs might fly. ®


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