Lufthansa has signed a one billion euros (£830 million) IT infrastructure outsourcing contract with IBM, a month after announcing that it was selling Lufthansa Systems to IBM. The deal includes transferring the control of its data centres to big blue, also the ones in Hertfordshire. The transferring of the airline's critical infrastructure is significant for the industry as Lufthansa Systems manages the IT and delivers applications to many other airlines.

As part of the outsourcing agreement, IBM will manage Lufthansa Systems' entire data centre operations, help desk, printer services and other infrastructure services. Around 1,400 Lufthansa Systems employees will transfer to IBM.

The airline plans to optimise its IT processes by using IBM resources and expects to generate estimated cost savings by an average of around 70 million euros annually - a figure that was mooted last month. Simone Menne, a member of the Lufthansa executive board and CFO, said: "Outsourcing the IT infrastructure to IBM will strengthen the competitiveness of the Lufthansa Group as a whole. The transformation plan will directly improve our cost base.

Lufthansa says IBM will also help improve its cloud, business analytics, mobile computing and social media business efforts with the help of new services for customers, partners and employees. "Together with IBM we will have access to the latest IT technologies not only to lower our costs but also to continue digitalising our business processes in order to increase efficiency and customer focus,” adds Simone Menne.

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