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Hosting helps flight service take off in Europe


America’s leading online flight tracking service FlightAware specialises in aviation software and data services. Based in Houston, Texas, it is best known for the website, the first online resource to offer free flight tracking of both private and commercial aircraft in the United States. FlightAware recently launched its services in Europe via a multilingual website which offers near real time reporting of passenger and freight flights for consumers, corporates and aviation companies in 15 different countries.

Business challenge

With access to the most advanced flight monitoring systems and data sources in the world, FlightAware was eager to exploit a gap in the market for a similar service in Europe. Across the continent, the only free data available online was from airports and airlines; which often proved restrictive, unreliable and out of date.

To launch a high-profile, heavy demand European service, Flight Aware needed local European infrastructure support. Its data centres in the US were simply too remote to deliver a quality user experience on the other side of the Atlantic.

Local servers and support were also essential to ensure the performance, availability and resilience required by commercial users and demanded by European advertisers whose revenue enabled Flight Aware to offer its information services free to users.

Daniel Baker, CEO FlightAware explains, “We wanted more than just server space to plug into. FlightAware has no staff based in Europe, so we needed a provider that could represent us here by providing a high level of service and outstanding attention to detail. One that was passionate about support and who could help maintain our infrastructure 24/7. Out of 12 providers considered, Pulsant was selected because it offered a bespoke solution and high level of expertise, knowledge and service that was exactly right for us.”

Our Solution

FlightAware required a dedicated facility to colocate its Unix-based servers responsible for hosting the European site and receiving and storing European data and content.

Pulsant’s Enterprise Class data centres, located within reach of Heathrow airport in the UK, provide an ideal location at the heart of Europe. With high spec-security and fully managed air conditioning and redundant power supplies, these provide FlightAware with core connection via a fully switched Gigabit network to 5Gbps+ of Internet connectivity – providing true bursting up to the speed that FlightAware required.

With multiple data centres, Pulsant was also able to offer 24/7 availability, unrivalled business continuity planning and fail over. All backed by Pulsant’s unbeatable SLA which provides FlightAware with full support, monitoring and maintenance on the ground.

Business results

FlightAware now offers FREE flight tracking and status reports for both consumer and cargo flights throughout Europe. Representing a ‘best in breed’ information source, is gaining a growing reputation among European travellers and businesses seeking real time, independent and accurate aviation data. The website is available in 15 different languages, and now has over 750,000 European users.

Thanks to Pulsant, FlightAware is able to manage its European operations from the US, without having to invest in additional staff or facilities to meet growing European demand.

Baker confirms, “During the initial installation, Pulsant proved highly knowledgeable and we continue to be impressed by their expertise and reliability. Pulsant has been instrumental in establishing FlightAware’s services in this new and untapped market”.

FlightAware is now focussing on driving tailor made services – including new mobile apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone 7, which appeal to its mobile-centric European audience. Travellers are able to access full flight info direct from their phones. The data and applications required to support this will all be hosted via the website and supported by Pulsant in the UK.”

Baker concludes, “We choose Pulsant because its emphasis was on our needs and not on selling us an out of box solution – they gave us a true custom fit. As our business expands, they continue to adapt and evolve our solution and continue to support us with vigour and vision. They are in effect our European ‘ground crew’, keeping our European services in the air and allowing us to support and grow our business with fresh content and new applications”.

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