Y2K a worldwide problem

A lot is being said about the Year 2000 bug, and with good reason. Airlines, airports and air traffic controllers are still less than certain that the millennium will pass without a hitch.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently admitted it was still waiting for Y2K compliance reports from around 3000 airports worldwide.

The Sydney-based Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation recently warned that the Y2K fear factor could have an impact on the global travel industry.

The Centre claimed that widespread concerns about Y2K could cost airlines several days lost revenue with business travellers refusing to fly.

IATA, at its annual assembly in Rio de Janeiro, said it would urge airlines, airports and service providers to redouble their efforts to prevent computer problems during the crossover to the Year 2000.

Together, IATA’s 265 members have spent US$2.3 billion to provide their own solutions to the Y2K dilemma, which could cause problems with baggage handling and reservation systems and could lead to flight delays.

IATA experts have visited the largest airports outside the United States, or studied their responses to detailed questions about their Y2K preparedness.

Their deadlines to receive Y2K compliance information from 600 airports around the world is likely to be extended for another month.

IATA Y2K project director Thomas Windmuller is confident that any problems will be ironed out before 31 December 1999.

“I do not believe it will be more difficult than any other year or beginning of a new one,” he said.

To provide extra safety to passengers, crews, and others involved in airline industry operations, contingency plans to im-prove regular safety procedures are being developed by governments in cooperation with IATA. All major airlines support the plan.

“We expect glitches will be small, but let’s be super-safe,” said Jane Erickson, Y2K project manager for NorthWest Airlines.

Amadeus is the world’s largest global distribution system for the travel airline industry and has confirmed that their entire system is not only Y2K compliant but will also cover the problems of the GST with the added package of Atlas Travelog.

Industry experts predict that the GST will cause many more problems for Australian Travel Agents than the Y2K bug.

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