The economic environment has not been kind to Europe over the last couple of years, and in 2011 Lufthansa Systems took steps to realign the company not only for significant cost reductions but for  an equal amount of revenue growth as well.

It reorganized into profit centers that are defined by the customer base.

The commercial division has focused on tools that help airlines boost their own revenues, Stefan Auerbach, senior vices president of airline solutions, said.

Among them is a new revenue integrity solution that aims to improve airlines’ financial results by 2% to 3% — perhaps more, depending on an airline’s practices — by “cleaning up” bookings made through GDSs.

The solution looks for duplicate bookings, fictitious names, unticketed bookings and other signs that a booking is not likely to produce revenue.

It flags the bookings and gives the airline the opportunity to return the unused seats to the available inventory.

Auerbach noted that as the integrity of bookings increases, it can have a significant impact on forecasting, so its fifth generation of revenue management tools take that into account.

Lufthansa Systems foresees a tighter marriage of revenue management and pricing systems, resulting in forecasts that can trigger automatic fare changes, for example.

The company also is looking to bolster its position in regions outside of Europe, particularly in Asia, in order to lessen its exposure to regional economic downturns and other variables.

Inside the company, Lufthansa Systems has taken an innovative approach to equipping its employees: It has become device-agnostic, and employees can bring their own.

“We can no longer say, ‘You have to have this or that device,’” Auerbach said.

“The biggest game changes in IT are the cloud and device-flexibility,” he said.

The “I’m a Mac” or “I’m a PC” mentality can be accommodated by the virtualized environment in the cloud.

 … and flies into the future of inflight entertainment

 

Static inflight entertainment systems are so last century. The new systems will assume that passengers will bring their own screens on board — tablets, laptops or hand-held devices.

Lufthansa Systems’ BoardConnect is a wireless system that allows passengers to log onto an airline’s “infotainment” portal and make use of libraries of movies, TV shows, music and reading material.

Unlike heavy, bulky IFE systems of the past, BoardConnect operates on minimal equipment: A 767 would need one small server and five even smaller access points.

The system will integrate all the information that an airline might want to provide, such as menus and duty-free items.

“Rather than annoy the entire plane, you can send a message saying, ‘I’m in 22C and I’d like to buy this item,’” Dr. Jörg Liebe, chief information officer, said.

And if you didn’t manage to finish the magazine or newspaper while in flight, you can take it with you, he said. The airline can let you keep it  on loan for a period of five days or so.