British Airways PLC (BA), Europe’s third-largest airline, has tapped Cisco Systems Inc. to build a telephone system using VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol) for its 14,000 office and airport workers, Cisco announced Wednesday.

The San Jose, California, company did not specify the size of the contract other than to say it is a “multimillion pound” deal, which is expected to pay for itself through cost savings within two years.

By next March, London-based BA is expected to be using 8,500 Cisco IP phones with its CallManager call-processing software and MeetingPlace conferencing software over an Ethernet network built by Cisco, the company said. The project includes replacing BA’s legacy phone system in Terminal 4 at Heathrow Airport just outside of London.

Additionally, BA’s Employee Self Service applications will be extended to include the delivery of Web-based employee services and digitized audio messages to Cisco IP phones, Cisco said.

Representatives from BA and Cisco could not immediately be reached for further comment. Cisco said the deal with BA brings its sales of IP telephones to the 5 million mark.

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