TopVet: Curtis W. Robb, CIO Delta Airlines

Curtis Robb

Air Force Veteran and Delta Airline Chief Information Officer Curtis Robb, is charged with rolling out transformational technologies at the global air carrier, and creating a new paradigm for the airline industry with sophisticated real-time data.

Mr. Robb is responsible for managing the day-to-day operation of Delta’s wholly owned subsidiary, Delta Technology. The company, comprised of approximately 2,000 people under Mr. Robb’s direction, oversees all of the airline’s information technology solutions development and support.

Robb has also held key management positions with Citicorp Credit Services and IBM, and begun his career as a physicist and programmer supporting radar and satellite systems for the U.S. Air Force. But it is the changes at Delta Airlines which is not only making a lasting impact around the globe, but also reversing an age-old perception of Delta as a technology laggard.

Specifically, Robb is spearheading deployment of the Delta Nervous System (DNS), an entirely new infrastructure on which it has been building applications that automate everything from tasks done at the gate and boarding area to baggage handling, and inventory and revenue management.

"The Delta Nervous System processes five million business events each day, dealing with gate, fuel, food, and customer data," Robb says in a recent company report. "The ability to share this information with our employees and customers in real time, and to automate how we share it, has allowed us to transform our business, improve customer service, and reduce costs."

Delta’s commitment to the complex rollout project--despite the economic bust, industry weakness, and terror fears--has garnered high industry claim. Recently Air Transport World, a leading industry trade magazine, named Delta the recipient of its 2004 Technology Leadership Award.

The scale of this evolutionary accomplishment is best shown in the numbers. According to a recent report by TIBCO, a Delta Technology Partner, every 40.7 seconds, a Delta jet takes to the sky. Getting that airplane off the ground takes information from flight schedules to gate information to baggage-handling to tower operations to customer service. Delta’s 2,123 flights each day also require 7.3 million gallons of fuel, 109,000 meals and snacks, 151,000 bottles of water, 87,000 cans of soda, and the list goes on.

"This unique, real-time infrastructure is a result of the partnership between Delta and Delta Technology," said Robb in receiving Air Transport World’s award. "It has transformed the way Delta conducts business.

Finally, Robb is a leader in the local Atlanta community, as a member of the United Way’s IMPACT Executive Committee for technology for the aid of underprivileged communities.

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