Case Summary for
Comair’s Christmas Disaster Bound to Fail
In 1997, Comair IT department have planned to replace an aging legacy system that the regional airline utilized to management flight crews. However, due to all business users have been adept on the existing system and the proposed system was not satisfied by the management of Comair, the replacement of system has been hold up. After that, a vendor was selected in 2000 for the replacement of system. However, sequence of events: Y2K , acquisition of Comair by Delta in 2000, pilot strike at 2001, the 911 event and downturn of airline industry have cause the delay of the replacement project. In June 2004, Comair have got approval from Delta to begin to implement this replacement project in 2005. However, a severe winter storm in Dec 2004 has forced the system crash due to the system cannot handle the large amount operation due to delay and cancel of flight. The system was not able to operate for several days. The incident caused Comair lost nearly as much as the profit earned in the preceding quarter. The President of Comair was also stepped down due to this incident. In 2005, Delta airline was reported that it will post another substantial loss that year and the fund raising of the replacement project was become even harder. As of March 2008, even the replacement plan is still in work, the legacy system is still running with only some bridge solution has been applied to prevent the similar incident of 2004’s Christmas. The author point out that the disaster is caused by the Comair and Delta not able to manage the operational risk. He also pointed that the incident can be prevented if • Comair IT executive have not done the kind of risk management analysis that alerted Delta to the dangers of not replacing the legacy system. • The Delta executive should insist to done their own analysis of the carrier’s risk.
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