Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Now That's An IT Failure!

Not traditional IT to be sure, but an automated system nonetheless--the infamous Denver baggage-handling system. I still remember the first time I travelled through Denver aurport with its new system. You had to find a special line to stand in if you had odd-shaped luggage. Odd-shared luggage like... skis. In Denver. Hmm.

Well, it's no more.

United Airlines has decided to stop using its controversial automated baggage-handling system at Denver International Airport, reverting to a conventional manual system by the end of 2005. The automated system (which began operation in 1995) never lived up to original expectations. It had enormous difficulties in its early days, including construction delays, cost overruns, lost bags, damaged luggage, derailed cars, traffic jams, upgrade problems, political battles, and so on. (For example, see RISKS-17.61 and 18.66). United is apparently obligated to pay $60 million a year for another 25 years under its lease contract with the city of Denver (which owns the airport). However, United expects to save $1 million a month in operating costs by NOT using the automated system. The airport cost $250 million to build (BAE Automated Systems of Dallas, no longer in existence), and the city reportedly put up another $100 million for construction and $341 million to get it to work. [Source: AP item, 7 Jun 2005; PGN-ed] http://msnbc.msn.com/id/8135924/

via RISKS Digest
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