The airline provisions its worldwide operations using its Supply Application. Historically, that application has run on a Unisys 2200 mainframe, but the pressures of pending obsolescence have compelled the company to seek a more modern and cost-efficient alternative.  

Leaders at the company wanted to preserve the significant investments they had made in the system’s unique business logic. They also wanted to mitigate any potential risk associated with the migration by taking a “least change” approach to the project.

Technology leaders at the organization chose to replatform the Supply Application to the AWS cloud. The AWS Professional Services team engaged Astadia to assist them with the migration. Working alongside AWS and IT leaders at the airline, Astadia helped the airline successfully complete the migration over a period of 18 months.


The Challenge

Several years ago, managers at the airline embarked on an ambitious effort to migrate all of their core IT systems to the cloud. One by one, they moved those systems out of their on-premise data center and migrated them to AWS. By late 2021, the Unisys 2200 mainframe was the company’s last remaining on-premise system.

As that mainframe approached its end of life, pressure mounted to complete the replatforming project. Leaders at the company wanted to achieve functional equivalency with their existing Supply Application so the company could continue worldwide operations uninterrupted, without extensive retraining of employees.

Obsolescence and escalating operating costs were major factors in the decision to replatform the mainframe application to AWS. The pool of experienced mainframe experts at the airline was shrinking, as more and more veteran employees were approaching retirement age. The company needed to address the problem of escalating costs and obsolete hardware while also preserving the valuable institutional knowledge that went into building and maintaining the system.


The Solution

The mainframe modernization project was a joint effort, led by AWS Professional Services. AWS engaged Astadia because of the company’s deep expertise with mainframe systems, including Unisys, and because of Astadia’s impressive record of successful mainframe modernization projects.

Astadia brought in a team of ten Unisys mainframe experts who worked alongside AWS, and a team of specialists from the airline’s IT department.

The Supply Application, originally written in COBOL and LINC (4GL) and using the legacy DMSII database, was migrated to Micro Focus Visual COBOL and uses Astadia’s OpenDMS middleware to facilitate the DMSII transformation to Microsoft SQL Server. The LINC code was refactored to run on the Unisys Agile Business Suite (AB Suite).

The Results

With the migration complete, the airline’s functionally equivalent Supply Application is now operating successfully in the AWS cloud. The “least change” approach will enable the organization to decommission their aging Unisys mainframe without creating undue risk or disruption to the organization’s 30,000 employees worldwide.

About the client

ORGANIZATION: A national flagship airline and one of the world’s largest carriers by fleet size, international flights, and international destinations. Founded over a century ago, it is the world’s second oldest airline still in operation.

INDUSTRY: Transportation

USE CASES: Mainframe Modernization, Replatforming, Mainframe to AWS

RESULTS: Reduced annual system operating costs, delivering functional equivalence to support uninterrupted supply provisioning operations without extensive retraining.

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