British Airways (BA) is investing £7 billion ($9.01bn) in a modernization program that includes migrating 700 IT systems to the cloud.

The program will also include the deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) and air-to-ground customer service.

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Unveiled at BA's 'In the Skies' event, CEO Sean Doyle said the transformation program will span over the next two years and is hoped to improve customer experience.

Of the planned investment, £750 million ($966.1m) will be dedicated to BA's IT infrastructure, including migrating 700 systems and thousands of servers to the cloud by early next year. The company has not publicly shared which cloud providers it will use, but was a customer of Juniper Networks' private cloud offering in 2015.

Over the past six years, BA has suffered a number of IT outages due to data center failures, including two outages in 2022, one in February forcing the company to cancel all short-haul flights from the London Heathrow Airport, and another in December where flights were forced to be grounded overnight.

In 2017, an outage at a CBRE data center grounded 672 flights over three days. BA resolved its dispute with CBRE over this outage in 2019.

The company was fined £20 million ($25.74m) in 2021 by the Information Commissioner's Office over a data breach.

In addition to the £750 million on cloud migration, BA will spend £100 million ($129m) on deploying machine learning, automation and AI across its operations from booking to baggage handling.

“Innovative new tools are helping to predict delays (prompting pre-emptive action to reduce disruption), and analyze real-time weather, aircraft capacity and customer connections data to help teams make better decisions,” said BA.

BA is also the first airline to deploy a WiFi-enabled in-flight customer care service that was created for the Airline by Microsoft. The system enables care teams on the ground to communicate with cabin crew and solve problems before flights arrive.

In 2023, two other airlines announced cloud migrations: Southwest Airlines which selected AWS as its cloud provider and LATAM Airlines, opting for an exclusive agreement with Google Cloud Platform.