Airline group Star Alliance is using Novell's identity management technology to allow its members to share applications securely across its global network.
Star Alliance's 14 members, who include BMI, Lufthansa and United Airlines, carry 300 million passengers to 700 airports and have 270,000 employees.
The group is building a global directory which will hold information on users and resources, secured by public key infrastructure-based technology. The directory will control access for all employees of member airlines and, when completed, will support cross-airline application sharing.
Frank C Schümann, project director at Star Alliance, said the directory would create "a single point of truth", authenticating which employees are allowed access to which service.
The second part of the project will allow employees of one airline to access the systems of another. For example, a check-in agent could be allowed to access another member's systems and change a booking, if needed.
Although some of this is already possible, sharing applications would make the process much smoother and could also yield large cost savings, the group said.
"We are doing a proof of concept until the end of June with some internal applications. Then we will start connecting the airlines which are interested in participating," Schümann told vnunet.com.
Airlines will decide which applications they think there is a business case for sharing.
Using the central solution "could easily amount to savings in the range of millions of dollars for the carriers," the alliance said in a statement.
The project uses Novell's eDirectory, iChain, DirXML Airline Integration Driver and its Extend Enterprise Server, as well as security technologies from Cryptovision. Novell said the deal is one of its biggest ever.
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