Korean Air completes IT migration to AWS

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From left to right, Kee Ho Ham, Managing Director of AWS Korea and Kenneth Chang, Executive Vice President of Korean Air. (PHOTO: Korean Air)

Korean Air has completed the migration of its entire IT infrastructure to Amazon Web Services Korea LLC (AWS), which comes three years after announcing its plans for cloud migration in November 2018. Korean Air is the first global full service carrier to complete an all-in migration to AWS. The airline will use AWS cloud capabilities to strengthen innovation and improve customer experience, giving the company a competitive edge in the post-COVID era.

“We are acquiring digital capabilities to lift our customer satisfaction levels to new heights, bringing us one step closer to becoming the world’s most loved airline,” said Kenneth Chang, executive vice president of Korean Air. “We’ve completed the largest IT modernisation project in the airline’s 52-year history within a short period and are shifting our focus from solving problems to creating innovation faster with AWS cloud capabilities, which is especially important as travel starts to resume.”

The IT system migration will help the airline to respond actively and flexibly to the changing market, including strict quarantine measures and increasing demand for contactless services during travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Korean Air upgraded its entire system to incorporate the required cloud technology and data to increase operational efficiency and innovate customer service.

Working with AWS and AWS Partner LG CNS in Korea, Korean Air moved its IT infrastructure, including data, network, and security systems, from an in-house data center to AWS to increase efficiency and simplify IT management. Korean Air uses AWS cloud capabilities, including data analysis and machine learning, to further improve passenger services, flight reservation/ticketing systems, weather forecast predictions and overall operations.

Korean Air plans to introduce a machine learning management service, which will allow the airline to create, train and apply machine learning models to improve customer service by forecasting passenger and cargo demand more accurately. The cloud will also help to enable the airline to better estimate flight delays due to weather conditions and predict aircraft maintenance time.

In addition, the all-in migration to AWS enables Korean Air to build a customer data platform in the cloud to offer more personalised customer services by allocating a unique digital identification tag to every passenger. Korean Air can use this tag and data analysis to tailor the services the airline offers to more accurately meet customer needs. Korean Air also improved its customer service channels using a microservice architecture on AWS. Using the cloud, the airline launched its new website and mobile app 90% faster than it could using its legacy on-premises infrastructure. Customers can now purchase tickets on the airline’s new website in two instead of four steps, and a one-step buying option is being developed. To build a culture of cloud innovation, Korean Air introduced the AWS Innovation Builder Programme during its cloud migration to give employees the right skill sets to become data- and customer-centric and create a cloud-first culture. As part of this company-wide effort, Korean Air equipped 500 employees with basic cloud technology skills and brought the business and technology teams together to validate new ideas with speed and agility using AWS.

“As the travel market continues to rapidly evolve, the cloud gives airlines the agility to innovate,” said Kee Ho Ham, managing director of AWS Korea. “By going all-in on AWS, Korean Air has unlocked efficiencies across their operations and provide customers with new experiences they love. Korean Air’s modernisation lays the foundation for the company to meet meaningful customer needs at every stage of passengers’ journeys.”

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