Cathay Switching Res Systems This Weekend

Cathay Pacific this weekend plans to switch to the Amadeus Altea reservations systems from an in-house one built in the 1980s. Will its experience be smooth or bumpy? The airline industry's track record is filled with both kinds. And though the involved vendors are different, the folks in Chicago who are planning United's res cutover in a few weeks surely will be keeping an eye on Cathay.

The Hong Kong-based carrier must not have been encouraged by the network failure in late January that disrupted Amadeus systems, but Amadeus within a day said it had resolved that problem. Cathay has told customers that most systems affected by its switch would be up by the end of the weekend.

"Preparations for this change began several years back as it is quite a massive undertaking," according to a statement from Cathay Pacific COO Ivan Chu. "For example, as just one part of the process during the cutover, we will migrate more than 1 million passenger bookings between systems. Unfortunately, as we modify the reservations system and more than 40 down line systems, we're forced to temporarily suspend some of the conveniences that our customers appreciate and count on. We appreciate their understanding and patience for these necessary measures."

Services to be suspended at 3 p.m. Hong King time on Saturday and expected to be brought back online in stages during the day Sunday include all ticket sales and changes and online check-in, boarding pass printing and seat selection. Cathay added that "while no expanded queuing is expected, passengers may wish to arrive at the airport earlier than normal." It also cautioned that worldwide call center volumes next week may be "higher than normal."