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Alaska Airlines - Secure Mobile API Publishing

Enabling air travel innovation via APIs

Enabling air travel innovation via APIs

 

Alaska Airlines, part of Alaska Air Group, is the seventh-largest US-based airline. To compete with the big players in the US national airline market, the company has positioned itself at the leading edge of electronic innovations – it was one of the first carriers to introduce personal, handheld entertainment devices and online check-in.

 

The Business Challenge
Alaska Airlines was also one of the first airlines to offer an iPhone application. While innovative, this app initially had limited functionality and usability. The company determined that exposing data and services via APIs, allowing internal developers and select external partners to build their own applications, would be a better way to deliver added value via mobile technology.

 

The Solution
Alaska Airlines needed to ensure that its APIs would not be compromised, either by deliberate attack or inadvertent misuse. The Layer 7 API Proxy was adopted to act as a security and management device, gating incoming requests and regulating those requests to ensure backend services would not be overwhelmed by third-party calls.

 

The Results
In August 2011, Alaska Airlines launched an updated, API-based iPhone app. Meanwhile, the company’s developers and partners have begun creating a range of supplementary applications. The API-centered approach has empowered the company to be quick to market with innovative new services and thus get a critical advantage over larger competitors.