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1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
It is apparent that everything that is sustainable would have to go through advancement. In Information and Communication Technology (ICT), the desire for improvement is a constant subject which triggers advancements. This is visible in every aspect of our lives and the airline industry is not excluded.
By convergence of the world into a global village, travelling great distances has become so common for not only business but also for pleasure purposes. Due to the fast paced nature of the world today, air travel is considered as one of the first choice among several modes of transportation to save time and one of the tools passengers use to speed up the process of travelling by air is the Airline Reservation System (ARS), especially passengers who don’t have time to or don’t want to visit a travel agent. Keeping in mind the fact that people might not have enough time out of their busy routine to go and visit a travel agent in order to make a reservation, most airlines have offered their services over the World Wide Web. Therefore internet has become the integral part of the flight reservation process not only for travel agents, who sits in the office and makes use of web servers of different airlines to find out the most suitable flight for a particular customer, but also for the customers who want to reserve flights online without necessarily having to contact air travel agents (Jones, 2004).
An airline reservation system is very important because it has the strong ability to reduce errors that might have occurred when using a manual system of reservation. The online system makes it possible for customers to book the flights as when they require. Customers can therefore make use of this system to make reservations, modify reservations in addition to cancel reservations. The flight reservation system software should be specially developed so as to function as an independent application. It should be established as a self-contained product (Milde, 2008).
The need of this system was realized since the beginning stages of the airline industry when information such as routes, aircrafts, schedules and fares about flights was published by airlines in large books. Travel agents had the difficult task of looking into separate books for reservations that involve multiple airlines. It was a dream to get a real time picture of available seats because airlines share information at day end only. American Airline was the first to build the computerized system to allow access to real time data to all its offices. In 1964, Semi-Automated Business Research Environment (SABRE) was developed with the help of IBM. SABRE’s achievement was its capacity to keep inventory correct in real time, accessible to agents around the world. Prior to this, manual systems required centralized reservation centers, groups of people in a room with the physical cards that represented inventory, in this case, seats on airplanes (Desmond, 2000).
In this regard, an improved airline reservation system is implemented to assist Overland Airways with a variety of airline administration tasks and service passenger needs from the time of initial reservation through completion of the flight.
An improved airline reservation system will be developed with facilities that will enable passengers of Overland Airways book available flights, select seats for their flights, print boarding passes, access aircraft maintenance report, check-in online for their flight with the hope that it will help the airline by streamlining their process of reservation without human interaction so as to enable them perform well in the highly competitive market place.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
During this research work, it was discovered that the Airline Reservation System used by Overland Airways offer the basic features of a reservation system such as searching for flights, selecting available flights and paying for the reservation. This discovery brought about the idea of creating an improved ARS. Some of the problems being faced by the existing system include:
I. Inability of passengers to select seat(s) for their chosen flight(s) from the existing reservation system. This has ultimately resulted in time being wasted at the check-in counter in assigning seats to passengers before they are allowed to board the airplane.
II. No option of passengers printing their boarding pass from the existing system.
III. Non notification of passengers in the event of flight cancellation or delays
IV. No access to aircraft maintenance reports to ease passenger fears as regards to air travel and its disasters.
1.3 AIM AND OBJECTIVES
The aim of this project is to design an improved ARS that will allow passengers of Overland Airways to book their flights with the following objectives:
1. To study the existing Airline Reservation System’s challenges and to infer possible solutions.
2. To design an improved ARS that will solve the problems being faced by the existing system which include: inability of passengers to select seats for their chosen flight, no option of passengers printing their boarding pass, non-notification of passengers of flight cancellations or delays and lack of access to aircraft maintenance reports.
3. To implement the design and create an ARS that captures self-booking.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This project work will be beneficial to the passengers and help improve the relationship between the passengers and the airline.
It will help save time during passenger boarding as passengers will be able to select their seat(s) and also print their boarding pass from the reservation system and therefore reduce loading time instead of waiting in line at the check-in counter to select their seats and collect their boarding pass before being allowed to board the airplane, and help minimize the number of vacant seats on a flight and maximize flight capacity utilization and also help the airline by streamlining their process of reservation without human interaction hence enabling them to perform well in the highly competitive market place.
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of this project is to create a system that will allow potential airline passengers of Overland Airways search and book available flights, select seats for their flights, pay for the booking, print their boarding pass only after payment has been made, access aircraft maintenance reports and be notified of flight cancellation or delays.
1.6 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
The limitation of this project is that owing to the various types of airplanes, with each one built for a specific purpose and has a different shape and design, the seat map used in this project is restricted to the seat layout of the three (3) different airplane types used by Overland Airways, hence the aircraft maintenance reports will also be limited to these three (3) airplane types.
1.7 OPERATIONAL DEFINITIONS OF TERMS
The following are some of the terms used in this project:
1. Aircraft Maintenance Report
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