COVID-19 Technology and R&D Update

Sylvain Roy

SVP, Technology Platforms & Engineering, Amadeus

This is the eighth blog post of our COVID-19 series where we explore what Amadeus is doing to support the industry and our customers across the business during this difficult time.

During this time of uncertainty and change with COVID-19, we are more focused than ever to ensure the health and safety of our employees and to continue supporting our customers.

Despite the disruption we are facing all around us, our commitment to providing customers with the best possible service, around the clock, is unwavering. This means continuing to serve them as smoothly  as possible, without interruption; centralizing our focus on our day-to-day operations to ensure stability.

Here are some examples of how our Technology and R&D teams are working to make this happen: 

Ensuring business continuity in our data center 

Our main data center is unique, and as such we have implemented a clear and specific business continuity plan. This includes identifying and securing critical processes and the associated manpower, hardware, software, and physical resources. We have split teams of engineers working on critical operations, ensuring social distancing to prevent contagion, and provisioned them with the recommended equipment for personal protection. 

For those who still need to enter the building to support business critical processes – and to further mitigate the risk of a possible infection - we are carrying out special cleaning and disinfection of the Amadeus premises and data center. 

We are in regular contact with local authorities to make sure we are following the necessary procedures, and our vendors have been informed of our preventive measures to align them with our business needs. 

Maintaining stability in operations and supporting with re-accommodations

This is an unprecedented episode in the travel industry which has seen and is continuing to see a significant number of canceled flights and booking changes. In the face of such disruption, our teams are working around the clock to support our customers in re-accommodating travelers, all the while maintaining a stable system. In fact, we have processed nearly seventeen times the typical volume of re-accommodation transactions per day for our customers , from a typical volume of just 150,000 to 2.5 million per day, with no impact on system stability.

Our operations and engineering staff are managing this situation in unison: with teams made up of frontline customer support right through to operations and R&D to handle re-accommodation activities as smoothly as possible. These teams are constantly monitoring our system for unusual behavior due to shifts in workload and are making necessary adjustments on-the-go to ensure service continuity. In some specific cases, this also means working jointly with our customers’ technical teams to handle the workload in the system.  

This peak in activity is creating a particularly stressful moment for our airline and travel seller customers as they are handling a flurry of travel re-bookings and refunds. This is compounded by the fact that PNRs have a typical lifetime of four days after the last flight, after which they are archived – a tight window to service the many travelers who are now unable to fly. 

As a result, we are working with our airline and travel agency customers to extend the validity of impacted PNRs from four days to up to one year which will help facilitate traveler servicing during this challenging time. 

"We are fully aware of the complicated situation our customers are facing due to COVID-19, which has caused a near-stop in global travel in just a matter of days. Extending the lifetime of the PNR will hopefully give some breathing room to our airline and agency partners to both ease the manual workload in handling flight cancellations and re-accommodations for travelers and help their cash flow in the process." - Denis Lacroix, SVP Core Shared Services R&D

Safeguarding our security and advising customers

We are seeing a growing number of malicious attempts in the cybersecurity space that exploit the context of COVID-19. This means that we need to remain more vigilant than ever to secure our data, our products and our people. We are regularly keeping our staff and customers informed about this danger.

As a result, we have increased our screening and monitoring against such external threats. This also helps us manage the elevated risks associated with the widespread need for our employees to work from home. 

We have bolstered our security by activating more stringent threat detection and blocking measures, and are also leveraging our security threat intelligence channels to gather any indicators related to  COVID-19. These indicators are automatically uploaded and activated into our security tooling framework to ensure instant detection and response.

In this respect we are also working hand-in-hand with our customers, guiding them with a set of practical security controls and measures they can easily take during these challenging times.

These are just some examples of how we’re helping our customers during this difficult time. 

To learn more about Amadeus' PNR extension initiative, check out this infographic here:

Latest news COVID-19 updates

Amadeus' priorities remain ensuring the health and well-being of our employees and supporting our customers.

Amadeus' priorities remain ensuring the health and well-being of our employees and supporting our customers.

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