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US Airways Taps AT&T For Cargo Tracking Service

The two-year $6 million contract will include various voice, data, and networking services for US Airways employees.

AT&T this week signed a two-year $6 million contract with US Airways to provide the airline with wireless and wireline services for its cargo-tracking operations, as well as internal support of the airline's employees.

US Airways already uses various voice and Internet Protocol data and networking services from AT&T for its domestic operations and in its call center. Now AT&T is adding wireless services to the mix.

The airline will use AT&T's wireless network to track the cargo it ships. US Airways will use hand-held barcode scanners to scan in-coming packages. The scanners will connect to AT&T's wireless network and provide tracking data on the shipments.

"For us, the key is to provide real-time tracking of goods shipped on US Airways. It's an important capability we're enabling especially for an airline with such large operations," said Aaron Stively, AT&T's signature client director in charge of the US Airways account, in an interview.

AT&T already offers similar services to other major airlines in the United States, the company said.

The wireless network provided by AT&T will also be used by US Airways for internal business processes, such as proving employees with access to the Internet and the company's e-mail system via BlackBerry smartphones, in addition to voice services for domestic and international business travel.

The future potential use of AT&T's network could be expanded by US Airways to provide wireless services to its own customers -- those who travel with the airline.

"[US Airways] has the foundation to use wireless technologies throughout the U.S. and internationally. Now they can consider other applications to better service customers," said Stively.

US Airways merged with another airline, America West, in a $1.5 billion deal over two years ago to create the largest budget airline with operations throughout the U.S. and overseas.

AT&T has had a long-standing relationship with the old America West, now the new US Airways, for over 10 years. This week's agreement is a renewal of the carrier's and the airline's existing relationship.

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