Project OptA

Optimization of Antique Infrastructure

At Lufthansa Systems, I was responsible for the project OptA (Optimization of Antique Infrastructure), where the goal was originally defined as the optimization and the renewal of the world wide data network which is operated by Lufthansa Systems for Lufthansa as well as for other flight operators, and the installation of modern network techniques, therefore. Indeed, this task consisted basically in the identification of those roundabout two and a half thousand lines which are leased by Lufthansa Systems from SITA and which arrive at the computing center located in Kelsterbach from all over the world, in the allocation of lines to customers, and in the proper removal of dispensable and of non-assignable lines.

Lufthansa Systems operates one of the world's largest computing centers in Kelsterbach which is equipped with Unisys and IBM host computers and which takes care for the completion of all flight operations at Lufthansa as well as other flight operators. On each airport in the whole world which is approached by Lufthansa, a data link to this computing center needs to be existing. The problems were mainly that those lines originated from the time before Lufthansa was splitted into several companies so that it was not documented who was the user of those lines, and in the financial consequence of the (even test-wise) false switch-off of a necessary line when e.g. an airplane in Timbuktu is impossible to take off due to a missing data link, and if several hundred passengers have to stay at the airport, therefore. And last but not least: most of these lines were based on very antique techniques because those lines were mainly dedicated terminal-host connections. It was even estimated to be quite "modern" just if the host connection was established via IP-capable network lines.

The success during my assignment as "project manager OptA", which began in September 2000, consisted in the cancellation of around five hundred old lines, in the reduction of the number of non-allocated lines (that is lines which could not be invoiced) from originally around 70 to less than half a dozen of lines, and in the financial savings of around 1.5 Mio USD for line costs solely in the year 2000. Nevertheless, I did not find satisfaction in just administrative project management tasks without any technical or scientific challenges so that I ended this job just during the probation period after about half a year.

Jürgen Röthig;; last update: May 6, 2001