x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Etihad's $1bn IT upgrade will mean day offline

The airline is set to fly into a cyberspace black hole for 24 hours as it carries out one of the biggest ever technology upgrades in the region.

Etihad Airways’ new computer system will enable passengers to complete more of the boarding process before they arrive at the departure gate.
Etihad Airways’ new computer system will enable passengers to complete more of the boarding process before they arrive at the departure gate.

ABU DHABI // Etihad Airways will next week begin one of the region's biggest IT upgrades.

But it is going to have to blink out of cyberspace for a day.

In a 10-year deal worth more than US$1 billion (Dh3.67bn), Etihad is switching to a platform provided by the global firm Sabre.

Passengers will be checked in and guests will still fly safely and comfortably across the globe.

But between 11pm on February 22 and 10pm on February 23, no one will be able to book, check in or upgrade online, check flight times or reserve seats.

Passengers will not be able to make, change or cancel bookings, or check in for flights booked anywhere other than at the airport.

Etihad is telling those travelling between February 22 and February 25 to arrive at least four hours before flights and bring printed copies of booking confirmations.

"On the day we will not have a fully automated check-in facility so our average handling times will be longer," said Gordon Penfold, senior vice president of IT.

"This is all about repositioning the airline to support its future growth and let staff focus more on our guests."

dblack@thenational.ae