Continental Airlines: Flying High with Its Data Warehouse

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Continental Airlines: Flying High with Its Data Warehouse
XBIS/219
May 29, 2011
Amir Herschberg
Axia College of University of Phoenix

The airline industry is a competitive market in which some airlines are profitable while others are not. During the late 1990s, most airlines were lucrative because fuel costs were relatively low and travel was at an all time high amongst flyers. Recently, the airline industry has taken a severe hit due to the increased rate of oil, the 9/11 attacks, and anti-traffic control system to name a few. However, Continental Airlines remains one of the largest airlines in the United States holding its rank in fourth place amongst other airline companies.

Initially, Continental Airlines was not highly regarded because of its information technology (IT) and organizational culture. Unlike other airline companies, Continental Airlines has taken extreme measures by adopting new strategies to overhaul its IT department altogether. The information systems Continental had in place was old and outdated because it did not provide information of its most valuable customers. The Transaction Processing Facility (TPF) was the old IBM mainframe system Continental’s IT team had during the late 1990s. The system was not designed for customer service.

In order for Continental to accomplish its goals, the IT team realized the need to replace its old mainframe. The IT team determined it needed to integrate into one system by consolidating the airline’s disparate customer management relationship (CRM) systems. As a result, Continental joined forces with Teradata to build an enterprise data warehouse comprised of 25 enterprise systems. The warehouses consist of “schedules, reservations, customer profiles and demographics, airline maintenance records and schedules, employee and crew payroll, and customer care” (Rainer & Turban, 2008, p. 132)....
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