BA extends BPO deal

By Gareth Morgan
26 Oct 2011 View Comments
Grounded British Airways planes with one landing

British Airways (BA) has extended its business process outsourcing (BPO) deal with Indian services supplier WNS by 20 months, as it looks to deliver further technology improvements and enhance business processes.

BA created WNS as its captive BPO unit in 1996, to provide a range of services including reservations, cargo support and customer services.

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Since it was spun out as an independent company, it has increased its roster of clients to include KLM, Glaxo and Royal Sun Alliance, among others. It will now use its experience of best practice in those engagements to establish a new service quality scheme for BA.

Under the new deal, WMS will establish a back office centre of excellence for BA, focusing on operations including customer relations, fares, passenger and cargo revenue accounting, research and analytics and HR shared services.

WNS will use management tools such as Lean and Six Sigma, to analyse BA's processes "and identify ways of streamlining them to make them more efficient and cheaper to operate,” said Philip Osmond, director of business, BA.

Around 1,000 WNS staff will work on the BA account from centres in Mumbai and Pune.

The announcement comes at a crucial time for BA, which is less than a year into its merger with Spanish airline Iberia.

The merger saw the departure of then chief information officer Paul Coby and raised questions over crucial parts of BA's IT strategy.

Prior to the merger, BA chief executive Willy Walsh told the Guardian that BA had much to learn from Iberia's use of IT, particularly in web site sales and engine maintenance.

BA had previously established a maintenance and repair operation with Indian services giant Tata Consulting Services, based on technology from SAP.

"We are constantly looking to derive additional synergies and benefits from our merger with Iberia and the formation of Internation Airlines Group," Osmond told Computing.

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