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  Information Technology at Air Mauritius is regarded as an important enabler and driver of the business of this small, competitive yet consistently profitable company. The Indian Ocean island of Mauritius is experiencing vigorous economic growth, and its local air carrier has undergone strategic change and market realignment to take advantage of the growth of the island both as a business hub and as a tourist destination.

  Air Mauritius was the recipient of the African Aviation Award for "African Airline of the Year 2002" from African Aviation Journal in recognition of its achievements in several key areas in the past year, including route development, fleet modernisation, customer service, profitability and financial performance. Mauritius is the most economically active country in the Indian Ocean island region and is taking the lead in economic development, which presents many opportunities for the airline. Air Mauritius operates routes into Africa, Asia, Europe and Australia.

   Air Mauritius runs its core financial and human resources management systems on ERP application products, and aggregates its organisational data on a single database.

  "Our Information Systems department is poised to support the new challenges facing the airline business, both in the light of the growth opportunities and the negative impact of international incidents," says Sushil Baguant, Chief Business Support Executive at Air Mauritius. "We compete with the major airline operators, which means we have to not only be competitive with regard to pricing, but also provide a better service.

  "Ultimately, though, all our activities have to be focused on delivering a better, differentiated service to our customers, and this principle has been built into our mission statement." Customers include individual passengers, travel agencies, tour operators and freight forwarding companies.

  Competitive pricing hinges on the ability to control costs and maximise resources, and Oracle Financials plays a critical role in supporting these functions.  The most significant costs are those associated with fuel and aircraft, the former being subject to constant price fluctuations. Operational data is leveraged to allow multi-faceted analysis of key performance indicators and allows management to readily feel the financial pulse of the company in order to optimise profitability through reporting tools such as a Financial Analyser.

  Interfaces have also been developed to harmonise information between the Oracle ERP systems and other applications such as the airline's Passenger and Cargo Revenue systems and Aircraft Maintenance system, among others. This has ensured the capture of data at source and the enhancement of the quality and reliability of information. In its incessant drive to continuously rationalise and streamline its business processes across the organisation, Air Mauritius is planning to roll out Oracle Financials to its offices around the world.

  To manage its 2400 employees, Air Mauritius runs a Human Resource Management System (HRMS), including employee self-service for quicker related HR decision-making processes and more staff empowerment.

  With the database and financial and human resource management systems in place, Air Mauritius has a stable information technology infrastructure upon which to base growth. These systems provide the foundation for further development, including growing the airline's cargo-carrying business, and developing a strong customer relationship management system.

  "IT will play a critical role in formulating these and other plans," says Mr Baguant. "We were given a mandate to use IT to leverage our competitiveness through revenue enhancement, cost containment, excellent customer service and greater efficiency.

  "Today our team of IT staff are working to develop and implement systems that will support Air Mauritius to reach its customers, and make it easy for customers to do business with us – be they passengers, tour operators, commercial organisations or freight forwarders. We have the business processes in place, a customer-centric culture and a powerful IT infrastructure. Our IT systems will definitely be significant enablers and drivers of further business growth opportunities."