SITA recognized for providing IT and communication solutions to the air transport industry at 2018 Air Transport Industry Awards

Dubai | March 26, 2018–SITA has been named Service Provider of the Year in the prestigious annual Air Transport Awards held in Dubai. The winners are voted for by the readers of Air Transport News and a jury of international aviation experts, chaired by Henrik Hololei, Director-General for Mobility and Transport at the European Commission.

The Service Provider of the Year award was given to SITA in recognition of its role in providing IT and communication solutions globally to the air transport industry. SITA’s unique role as the community provider – being owned by the industry – means it has an unprecedented understanding of the industry’s requirements, combined with dedicated teams around the world which deliver services needed to keep people flying.

Barbara Dalibard, CEO, SITA said: “Being named as Service Provider of the Year at the 2018 Air Transport Awards is a significant achievement and a strong validation of our unwavering collaboration and contribution to the air transport community. To be selected by our industry peers for this award is testament that our continued focus on delivering real value to the community is both justified and valued by the industry.”

Nearly every passenger flight in the world relies on SITA technology. SITA works with the industry to provide technology solutions that make a difference. It innovates collaboratively, while developing and managing solutions over the world’s most extensive network, one that forms the communication backbone of the global air transport industry.

In recent months, SITA has taken the lead in the development of biometric solutions. This has included innovation solutions for airlines and airports as well as looking to the future uses of biometrics as the technology develops. A key innovation is SITA’s Smart PathTM solution which allows passengers to use their biometric identity every step of the way.

The Air Transport Industry Awards were presented at a ceremony at the Burj al Arab hotel in Dubai.

VT Miltope

One thing IFEC shows are really good for – surprises, especially in technology. Case in point, the recent APEX EXPO in Long Beach. The surprise was router security and the folks at VT Miltope certainly caught us unaware – they were well along in the developmental relationship with a cybersecurity expert (RazorSecure) and have a clear view of the issues with hacking and the potential types of attacks that routers might face on flights that provide inflight internet connectivity. While IFExpress has been following the deluge of attacks on the ground, we have been watching Wi-Fi capable planes for over a year now and it is a  fact that the folks who make routers for IFEC are too. In fact, cybersecurity is becoming a “big deal” for aviation. As proof of this conjecture, check out this Cybersat17 Conference coming in November – Cyber Sat Summit, but this year is just a beginning of a bigger focus on cabin data technology and cabin hacking security efforts.

Getting back to the APEX show, the IFExpress graphic rectangle is a portion of an actual page from VT Miltope’s “Cabin Wireless Network: The Next Frontier” presentation and it opened our eyes! The VT Miltope team has been on track with understanding and protecting IFEC wireless hacking issues and is in the process of working with a partner – RazorSecure Software who will assist in the development of more cabin hacking issues.

As a quick visit recap, we took the opportunity during the expo to receive an overview of VT Miltope’s planned MAP3, with the following key enhancements over the nMAP2, 802.11ac WAVE 2, Enhanced CHT, Embedded Server Storage (2 TB) (Optional), RazorSecure Software (Optional). We should also mention that we have a link for the preliminary data sheet for the MAP3 product with future product details which should be available this year. It should be noted that the proposed product will be a takeoff from the successful nMAP2 and by adding WAVE 2 (IEEE 802.11ac hardware and software for upgrading speed and data throughput), CHT (Enhanced Cognitive Hotspot Technology (Optimizing wireless cabin wireless data communication), optional  2 TB of Data Storage, and RazorSecure (Optional) advanced cyber security intrusion detection – protecting data communications). We won’t go into all the new features but from a technology point if view, this router is going to be a big deal! Add the security additions from RazorSecure, and this will be a formable product! It’s security developments will protect against DOS Attacks, Physical Attacks, Remote Shell Access, Critical Configuration Changes, Authentication and Misconfiguration Issues – and more than we can cover here. Here is a link to some of the Wi-Fi security issues facing connectivity –  US Warns Of Security Flaw Which Can Compromise Wi-Fi Connections (Update)  Here is our message: If you have wireless cabin data communication hacking concerns, you had better call VT Miltope! (We should mention the Galgus team as another contributor to the included technology of the VT Miltope product!)


Gogo

Gogo has made Fortune’s “Future 50” list of companies best positioned for strong future growth. Fortune worked together with the Boston Consulting Group to create the list. To identify the Future 50, Boston Consulting Group examined 2,300 publicly traded U.S. companies and reviewed 15 years of financial results through year-end 2016. They divided the companies into two different groups—those above $20 billion in market value at the time of the screening and those below.

“We are very proud to have been selected to the inaugural Future 50 list as it validates our leadership and innovation as the Inflight Internet company,” said Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO.  “We are connecting aircraft and leveraging that connectivity to develop cutting edge products and services that engage passengers and help our aviation partners run a safer and more efficient operation. Our latest technology innovations like 2Ku have us well positioned to fuel future growth.”

Gogo announced that it has been selected by LATAM Airlines Brazil to introduce inflight connectivity using Gogo’s 2Ku technology to 100 of its A320 aircraft, which operate flights in Brazil as well as to other countries in Latin America. Gogo’s inflight connectivity service will begin in the first half of 2018 and the roll-out of the technology is expected to be completed in the first half of 2019. “We have selected the most modern and innovative in-flight internet technology available in order to offer an unrivaled and diverse onboard experience to our passengers in Brazil.  The new service will complement LATAM Entertainment, our wireless entertainment system, and will provide our passengers with the freedom to choose how they want to enjoy their journeys,” said Jerome Cadier, CEO of LATAM Airlines Brazil.

Gogo’s 2Ku technology is installed on more than 350 aircraft today and delivers proven performance of more than 15 Mbps to each passenger device, covering more than 98 percent of all flight hours around the world with 98 percent system availability. With an open architecture that leverages current and future Ku satellites, 2Ku offers unrivaled adaptability to keep airlines connected now and in the future. The equipment installed on LATAM’s aircraft will include Gogo’s new, performance boosting modem. The proprietary features of the new modem significantly increase throughput and reliability to and from the aircraft.


BOEING

Boeing just signed a big deal with Singapore Airlines for 20 777-9s and 19 787-10s and 6 options of each…in the Oval Office. The deal is worth $13.8 B at list prices.

SIA, Boeing firm 777-9, 787-10 order at White House ceremony | Airframes content from ATWOnline

Also, it looks like the all Airbus Hong Kong Airlines is seeking to speed up growth to take on Cathay Pacific and will most likely get some Boeing 787’s. Last week, Reuters also predicted China Southern would buy 38 more Boeing planes worth $5.6 Billion at retail prices.

The company is investigating plans to double the B767 Everett production and apparently have an order which depends on a certain production rate of the planes. And, we understand that Boeing is looking at passenger version of the aircraft. The company has declined comment on the the airline but United Continental has been mentioned in the press. They have 51 B767’s that are quite old and some 77 B757’s that are around 20 years old.

On another front, There have also been rumors of a sale of 100 Boeing 767 freighters to Amazon’s growing Prime Air cargo fleet.


AIRBUS

The first A330neo took off August 19 at Blagnac in Toulouse, France at 09.57 hrs local time, for its maiden flight taking place over south-western France. The aircraft, MSN1795, is a A330-900 and the first of three certification flight-test aircraft to fly, powered by the latest technology Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 turbofans. The A330neo’s certification development program itself will last around 1,400 flight-test hours. This will comprise 1,100 flight hours for the A330-900 campaign – to achieve its respective EASA and FAA Type Certification around the middle of 2018; plus 300 flight hours for A330-800 version – which will be certified in 2019. Overall, the full A330neo Family flight-test campaign will be performed by three certification flight-test aircraft, plus the first production aircraft (the latter to validate the Airspace cabin prior to EIS).

Launched in July 2014, the latest generation of Airbus’ widebody family, the A330neo builds on the A330’s proven economics, versatility and reliability while reducing fuel consumption by a further 14 per cent per seat. The NEO’s two versions – the A330-800 and A330-900 – will accommodate 257 and 287 passengers respectively in a three-class seating layout, are powered by the latest-generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, accommodate up to 10 more seats, offer new “Airspace” cabin amenities, and feature a new larger span wing with Sharklet wingtip devices.


SITA

The air transport industry has cybersecurity as a top priority with 95% of airlines and 96% of airports investing resources into major cybersecurity programs or pilots over the next three years. Yet research released  from global IT provider SITA shows there is still room for improvement with only one third of boards at airlines, and a fifth at airports, having fully integrated cybersecurity into their business plans.

Speaking today at a gathering of European air transport industry leaders, Barbara Dalibard, CEO of SITA, highlighted that while cybersecurity is the number one priority for almost all airlines and airports, it demands more attention and must be higher on industry board agendas.

Dalibard said: “Recent global cyber attacks demonstrate the risks and the need for a proactive approach. The air transport industry is highly connected and reliant on partners. We must work as a community to fight the global threat to cybersecurity. While we are pleased to see a 46% increase in the number of airlines prepared to deal with major cyber threats over the past year, there is still more to be done. The industry should move from dealing with common cyber threats to being prepared for major ones. As the technology provider owned by industry members, SITA is committed to invest in, and lead, the community effort to maximize cybersecurity. Together we can ramp up the industry’s defenses and ensure we remain one step ahead of any threat.”

SITA has conducted in depth research into the level of cybersecurity maturity at airlines and airports in the fight against this global threat. The results show that there are very high levels of security awareness among staff at airlines (82%) and airports (85%). This year, beyond cybersecurity protection, the industry is focusing on threat detection and response management. Already CIOs at 69% of airlines and 47% of airports are implementing security events and correlation monitoring, while security incident response management is being put in place at 77% of airlines and 60% airports.

Dalibard added: “Airlines and airports are building their critical defenses and preparing to deal with common threats but we must all bring it to the highest level and integrate cybersecurity at executive and board level. Together we must identify, detect and react to cyber threats and protect the industry’s assets from attack.”

Having identified the challenge, SITA earlier this year partnered with Airbus to address the air transport industry’s distinct concerns and created a unique CyberSecurity Aviation Security Operations Center (SOC). It acts like a cyber control tower with an integrated combination of processes, people and technology to detect, analyze, respond to, and report on cybersecurity incidents.

Markus Braendle, Head, Airbus Cybersecurity, said: “The air transport industry has unique cybersecurity challenges because of the varied and increasing use of smart end points across a largely distributed infrastructure. Digital transformation is enabling the air transport industry to deliver better services to its customers, but raising its threat exposure. Together SITA and Airbus CyberSecurity bring expertise and solutions to help airlines and airports monitor their digital assets to detect and respond to incidents.”

The SOC is part of a broader portfolio of SITA products and services that help airlines and airports identify threats and protect against, detect and respond to cyber attacks.

SITA also operates the Community Cyber Threat Center, a security information sharing service run on behalf of SITA’s more than 400 air transport industry members. It enables actionable information on cyber threats to be shared in a timely manner among key industry stakeholders.

These initiatives are part of SITA’s commitment to lead the air transport community fight against cyber threats and to improve the integration of cybersecurity into business plans at board level at airlines and airports.

SITA’s 2017 Air Transport IT Trends Insights are available here. Over the coming months, further insight into the results will be made available.


INMARSAT

Inmarsat is pleased to announce it has recently joined the Aviation Information Sharing and Analysis Center (A-ISAC), the trusted international membership association for sharing cybersecurity information targeted at the aviation sector. As part of the A-ISAC, Inmarsat joins a global contingent of aviation industry companies working collaboratively to develop and share timely and actionable information related to best practices, protective measures, threats and vulnerabilities. A-ISAC members are located on five continents and are leaders in the airline, airport, platform, satellite, and equipment manufacturing segments of the industry.


SECURITY

The US government is getting very concerned about the potential misidentification of bad devices in laptops and US passengers and planes might come under a security ban for the larger devices in the aircraft baggage holds…and in some cases, in the cabin. The US FAA is suggesting a worldwide ban on laptops in checked bags for obvious reasons. The issue in the checked bags is related to lithium-ion batteries and related potential issues with fire and explosions. There is also concern that nothing larger than an iPhone will be permitted in the cabin. If the cabin becomes out of bounds for laptops, you had better get a reliable source of small, secure data storage and a lot of carry-on print matter. Perhaps iPads that have more capability will become common, but we think they have a way to go to get laptop-like usage. We will see!

That laptop ban could be about to get a whole lot worse for plane passengers


MORE STUFF

  • In case you didn’t know, FTE Asia is Nov.7- 8, 2017 in Singapore and the folks at IFPL will be there as well. They told IFExpress: “We will be showcasing their latest USB-A and USB-C power solutions and how they are delivering seamless seat integration to truly enhance the ergonomics and aesthetics of the seat. Further, in line with passenger demand for consumer technology on-board, IFPL will be demonstrating their latest range of USB-A and USB-C outlets, AC power outlets, inductive charge and their traditional audio jackpassenger control units and seat back payment terminal solutions. We invite you to visit stand A33.”
  • Lastly, we have a freebie for you! While looking for a recap of the the Delta-CS100-Boeing-Airbus story, we came across Jason Cottrell’s excellent weekly airline publication (Airline Weekly) and his Fleet Sheet story on page 3 is a great summary. We asked for Jason’s permission to share it with you, so here it is:‎ airlineweekly.com/102317.pdf We also suggest you consider a subscription if you are airline data oriented. You can find out how by contacting him at jcottrell@airlineweekly.com – a really great airline publication.

Euro Air Transport IT Summit, Hamburg | October 18, 2017–The air transport industry has cybersecurity as a top priority with 95% of airlines and 96% of airports investing resources into major cybersecurity programs or pilots over the next three years. Yet research released today from global IT provider SITA shows there is still room for improvement with only one third of boards at airlines, and a fifth at airports, having fully integrated cybersecurity into their business plans.

Speaking today at a gathering of European air transport industry leaders, Barbara Dalibard, CEO of SITA, highlighted that while cybersecurity is the number one priority for almost all airlines and airports, it demands more attention and must be higher on industry board agendas.

Dalibard said: “Recent global cyber attacks demonstrate the risks and the need for a proactive approach. The air transport industry is highly connected and reliant on partners. We must work as a community to fight the global threat to cybersecurity. While we are pleased to see a 46% increase in the number of airlines prepared to deal with major cyber threats over the past year, there is still more to be done. The industry should move from dealing with common cyber threats to being prepared for major ones. As the technology provider owned by industry members, SITA is committed to invest in, and lead, the community effort to maximize cybersecurity. Together we can ramp up the industry’s defenses and ensure we remain one step ahead of any threat.”

SITA has conducted in depth research into the level of cybersecurity maturity at airlines and airports in the fight against this global threat. The results show that there are very high levels of security awareness among staff at airlines (82%) and airports (85%). This year, beyond cybersecurity protection, the industry is focusing on threat detection and response management. Already CIOs at 69% of airlines and 47% of airports are implementing security events and correlation monitoring, while security incident response management is being put in place at 77% of airlines and 60% airports.

Dalibard added: “Airlines and airports are building their critical defenses and preparing to deal with common threats but we must all bring it to the highest level and integrate cybersecurity at executive and board level. Together we must identify, detect and react to cyber threats and protect the industry’s assets from attack.”

Having identified the challenge, SITA earlier this year partnered with Airbus to address the air transport industry’s distinct concerns and created a unique CyberSecurity Aviation Security Operations Center (SOC). It acts like a cyber control tower with an integrated combination of processes, people and technology to detect, analyze, respond to, and report on cybersecurity incidents.

Markus Braendle, Head, Airbus Cybersecurity, said: “The air transport industry has unique cybersecurity challenges because of the varied and increasing use of smart end points across a largely distributed infrastructure. Digital transformation is enabling the air transport industry to deliver better services to its customers, but raising its threat exposure. Together SITA and Airbus CyberSecurity bring expertise and solutions to help airlines and airports monitor their digital assets to detect and respond to incidents.”

The SOC is part of a broader portfolio of SITA products and services that help airlines and airports identify threats and protect against, detect and respond to cyber attacks.

SITA also operates the Community Cyber Threat Center, a security information sharing service run on behalf of SITA’s more than 400 air transport industry members. It enables actionable information on cyber threats to be shared in a timely manner among key industry stakeholders.

These initiatives are part of SITA’s commitment to lead the air transport community fight against cyber threats and to improve the integration of cybersecurity into business plans at board level at airlines and airports.

SITA’s 2017 Air Transport IT Trends Insights are available here. Over the coming months, further insight into the results will be made available.

Kotoka International Airport’s Terminal 3 to cement airport’s position as a major regional hub

Johannesburg | October 16, 2017– SITA is providing its world-class passenger and baggage processing technology as well as its airport management solutions to Ghana’s new Terminal 3 at Kotoka International Airport in Accra, helping cement the airport’s position as a vital regional hub.

Ghana’s largest airport is expanding its capacity to meet significant growth in international passenger traffic, increasing the airport’s capacity to five-million passengers a year. The country’s aviation industry has witnessed significant growth over the past decade due to the discovery of petroleum and gas reserves, sustained domestic demand and the growth of the tourism sector.

SITA, the global air transport IT provider, has worked closely with both MAPA, the construction company building the new terminal, and Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL), the airport operator, to ensure that the new terminal has the most up-to-date technology to support the country’s modern airport infrastructure.

SITA already provides technology for Terminals 1 and 2 at Kotoka International Airport and will ensure that its world-class technology is fully integrated with the existing terminals from day one. This will deliver smooth passenger and baggage processing, and efficient operations across the entire airport.

SITA is deploying its latest passenger processing technology including common use check-in desks and self-service check-in kiosks, allowing the airport to maximize its capacity by enabling airlines to cost-effectively share the same infrastructure. The airport will also make use of SITA’s state of the art baggage management technology that will assist airlines in tracking bags every step of the way, helping them meet IATA’s Resolution 753 requirements from day one.

On the operational side, SITA’s Airport Management Solution will simplify planning and operational control, and facilitate collaborative decision-making, data management and analysis in Terminal 3 and across the entire airport. It will also support revenue management with its billing and reporting functionality.

Levent Uzunokur, General Manager of MNG Technical, MAPA’s parent company, said: “SITA was the obvious choice both because of its wide experience of airport technology across the world and the team’s specific knowledge of Kotoka International Airport. SITA’s ability to seamlessly integrate the new terminal into the existing airport operations is particularly important and will have a very positive impact on the success of the whole project.”

Dr Gershon Adzadi, Head of ICT at Ghana Airports Company Limited, said: “SITA has long provided its technology and know-how at Kotoka International Airport. Their understanding of our business and their leading technology solutions at airports make them an ideal partner to support us in the next chapter of our airport’s growth.”

SITA is initially contracted to MAPA during the deployment and implementation phase before handing over to GACL who will then take over the day-to-day running of the terminal.

Hani El-Assaad, SITA President, Middle East, India & Africa, said: “We are working with MAPA to transform the new facility into a working airport terminal that can process 1,250 passengers an hour. Kotoka International Airport’s new terminal will have the world-class technology it needs to support the airport’s role as a leading hub in the region.”

Kotoka International Airport supports both international and national routes for passenger and cargo aircraft. When Terminal 3 opens at the end of 2017, it will have six contact stands and two remote stands for long-range aircraft, including Airbus A380s, A330s and Boeing 777s and 787s.

New Air Travel Solutions global division to be led from Singapore
Singapore | January 23, 2017– SITA, the air transport IT provider, today announced the appointment of Sumesh Patel as SITA President Asia Pacific. He will be responsible for developing and driving the strategic direction for SITA in the region.

Sumesh is a global leader in the air transport industry with decades of experience working with airports and airlines across the world. Prior to this role, he was Vice-President of Business Management, Asia Pacific at SITA. He has guided teams in the design and implementation of major IT initiatives to meet the exacting needs of Asia Pacific’s leading airlines and airports.

His appointment is part of an organizational change which includes the appointment of Ilya Gutlin as President of the Air Travel Solutions division of the organization. Ilya will lead a global team in the development and delivery of products and services to SITA’s 2,800 airline, airport and government customers. Part of this division includes hundreds of software developers located across the world who together design and support mission-critical systems for the world’s air transport industry.

Ilya previously held the role of SITA President Asia Pacific at which time he drove growth and promoted innovation with SITA’s customers across the region. Prior to this he held the role of Vice-President of Airport Solutions and was the architect of SITA’s ‘Intelligent Airport’ vision. Both Sumesh and Ilya will be based at SITA’s Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore and Sumesh will join the Senior Leadership Team reporting directly to SITA’s CEO.

Barbara Dalibard, CEO SITA, said: “The Asia Pacific region has a strong role in the development of the air transport industry as airlines and airports look to technology to support the region’s fast growth. These two appointments solidify SITA’s dedication to the region and will ensure innovation and a keen focus on our customers. Sumesh’s deep knowledge of customers in APAC and his broad experience of SITA and leadership experience combined with Ilya’s drive to develop our products and solutions mean that we are poised for success.”

Sumesh began his career with SITA as an engineer in Mumbai, moving to sales in South Asia before working in both the areas of communications and airport business at SITA. He holds an MBA from the National University of Singapore.

Ilya began his career at Ernst & Young before joining SITA as a financial controller. He graduated with distinction with a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McGill University in Montreal. He also has a CPA from Canada and completed an Executive Leadership Program at INSEAD.

  • RFID technology will significantly reduce mishandled baggage rates

Dubai | October 19,2016– The global deployment of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, which can accurately track passengers’ baggage in real time across key points in the journey, can enable the air transport industry to save more than US$3 billion over the next seven years.

Global IT provider SITA and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) revealed that the highly accurate tracking rates of RFID technology could reduce the number of mishandled bags by up to 25% by 2022, mainly through efficient tracking. The SITA/IATA Business Case released today at the IATA World Passenger Symposium taking place in Dubai, outlines how this will provide a major saving for airlines and deliver more certainty for passengers.

In particular, RFID will address mishandling during transfer from one flight to another, one of the key areas identified by SITA and IATA where the technology could help improve baggage handling rates. RFID technology will ensure that airports, airlines and ground handlers are able to keep track of bags at every step of the journey and ensure the right bag is loaded onto the correct flight. The technology also supports IATA’s Resolution 753 that requires by 2018 airlines keep track of every item of baggage from start to finish.

The deployment of RFID would build on the already significant savings delivered by the smart use of technology for baggage management. According to the SITA Baggage Report 2016, technology has helped reduce the number of mishandled bags by 50% from a record 46.9 million mishandled bags in 2007, saving the industry US$ 22.4 billion. This improvement comes despite a sharp rise in passenger numbers over the same period.

Jim Peters, Chief Technology Officer at SITA, said: “The airline industry is on the brink of a revolution in baggage tracking. Deploying RFID globally will increase accuracy and reduce mishandling rates. This is a win-win situation – passengers will be happier, operations will run smoother and airlines will save billions of dollars.”

Andrew Price, Head of Global Baggage Operations at IATA said: “Over the past few years we have seen more work to help airlines introduce and reap the benefits of RFID technology through better oversight of their baggage operations. This has included trials and of course the Delta Air Lines implementation. The advances in the technology and the immense benefits it brings to the airline industry has prompted IATA to revisit and fully explore the benefits of RFID today.”

Initial deployments of RFID by airlines, such as Delta Air Lines, show a 99 percent success rate for tracking bags, helping further reduce the number of mishandled bags.

David Hosford, manager of baggage performance strategy at Delta Air Lines said: “We are investing in RFID to further improve our baggage handling rates and improve the customer experience. RFID technology provides us with more data and more precise tracking information throughout the baggage journey.”

The SITA/IATA business case shows that the improvements in handling rates do not come at a great cost. RFID capabilities can be deployed for as little US$0.1 per passenger on average while generating expected savings of more than US$0.2 per passenger. With some big airlines and airports already introducing RFID technology, combined with the fact that it is compatible with existing barcode technology, adoption of RFID across all airports could provide a positive return for airlines, both in cost savings and passenger satisfaction.

SITA’s and IATA’s assumptions are based on RFID being deployed in 722 airports (representing 95% of passenger numbers globally) over a six-year period between 2016 and 2021 while the savings are calculated over seven years to 2022. The figures for 2016 take into account the RFID infrastructure already deployed or about to be deployed at multiple induction points on the baggage journey.

SITA’s research into RFID and baggage tracking is part of its ongoing investment in research for the benefit of the entire air transport community. Baggage tracking is one of the five community research programs that SITA has launched to address some of the industry’s most pressing challenges. The others are identity management; the facilitation of IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC); an industry-wide disruption warning system; and enhancing cybersecurity across the industry.

  • SITA’s shared infrastructure AirportHub™ now available at 300 airports worldwide

2016 Air Transport IT Summit, Barcelona, Spain | May 26, 2016– SITA, the air transport industry communications provider, today announced that 300 airports in more than 100 countries across the world, are now equipped with SITA AirportHub™. This unique shared infrastructure allows airlines to connect all their applications and IT systems at an airport quickly and easily. It removes the complexity of dealing with local telecom providers and adds flexibility and agility to route management.

Airports are the center of the industry’s communications and are becoming ever more connected. By 2030, 18,000 airline communication connections will be needed at the world’s airports. The number and size of airports is also rising; 500 new airports – a 30% increase over today – and a 40% capacity growth in existing airports. The challenge the industry faces with this expansion is have reliable, secure, high performance communications – consistently across the world’s airports – for airlines, ground handlers, maintenance companies, other airport tenants and the airports themselves.

SITA AirportHub is an airport-wide shared connectivity platform that ensures airports can provide their airlines, ground handlers and other tenants with secure and reliable bandwidth, including wireless connectivity to access off-airport applications. Today, it is at 300 airports and provides 3,000 connections across the world.

Matthew Billings, Chair of Membership Committee, SITA and VP Technology Services at Virgin Atlantic, speaking at the Air Transport IT Summit being held in Barcelona, said: “SITA’s investment in the AirportHub infrastructure over the last number of years is of huge benefit to the entire air transport community. Now airlines can use AirportHub at 300 airports across the world – from Beijing to here in Barcelona.

“SITA AirportHub makes opening new routes much quicker and easier. When airlines are connecting their systems at an airport they can now do so within a matter of weeks not months. This streamlined approach is efficient and cost-effective. Many airlines are keen to work with their airport partners who don’t already have SITA AirportHub in place to consider its adoption.”

Dan Ebbinghaus, Senior Vice President, Communications and Infrastructure Solutions, SITA, said: “All airlines need high levels of connectivity on demand. Wherever they fly, and whether they are low cost, hybrid or flag carriers, the need is the same. As our airline members have experienced, SITA AirportHub provides this securely and efficiently.

“The rollout of AirportHub across the world’s airports is multi-year investment by SITA on behalf of the airline and airport community. Our plan over the next three years is to have AirportHub at 700 sites reaching 80% of airlines’ international destination airports. This will dramatically expand our coverage transforming the communications infrastructure at the world’s airports.”

SITA AirportHub helps to reduce the total cost of ownership through secure shared infrastructure and global community solutions. It makes connections between all stakeholders at the airport – airlines, governments, ground handlers, commercial operators and other partners – efficient and cost-effective. In addition to cost savings through shared, short lead time to connect and common-use infrastructure, there are vast savings in the time and effort of sourcing from local telecom companies, managing multiple suppliers and having to cope with long lead times.

The 300 airports already taking advantage of SITA AirportHub are located in more than 100 countries. These range from remote and regional destinations serving less than a million passengers to the largest international hubs of the world which together manage hundreds of millions passengers every year.

  • Leo the robot speeds up bag drop by collecting passengers’ baggage before they enter the terminal

Geneva | May 17, 2016– Passengers arriving at Geneva Airport in the past few days have received help with their bag drop from Leo, an innovative baggage robot developed by air transport IT provider SITA, which is being trialed outside the airport’s Terminal 1.

Leo is a fully autonomous, self-propelling baggage robot that has the capacity to check in, print bag tags and transport up to two suitcases with a maximum weight of 32kg. It also has an obstacle avoidance capability and can navigate in a high-traffic environment such as an airport.

Leo provides a glimpse into the future of baggage handling being explored by SITA Lab and is the first step to automating the baggage process from the moment passengers drop their bags to when they collect them. Using robotics and artificial intelligence, bags will be collected, checked in, transported and loaded onto the correct flight without ever having to enter the terminal building or be directly handled by anyone other than the passengers themselves.

Leo – named after the Italian Renaissance inventor and engineer Leonardo da Vinci who built what is now recognized as the world’s first robot – comes to the assistance of passengers as they approach the terminal building. Touching Leo’s Scan&Fly bag drop interface opens the baggage compartment doors to allow passengers to place their bags inside. After the passengers have scanned their boarding passes, the tags are printed and can be attached to the bag. With the bags loaded and tagged, the compartment door closes and Leo displays the boarding gate and departure time.

Leo then takes the bags directly to the baggage handling area where they are sorted and connected to the correct flight. The doors of the robot can only be reopened by the operator unloading the baggage in the airport.

The use of robots such as Leo means that in future fewer bags and trolleys will enter the airport terminal, reducing congestion and making airport navigation easier.

Dave Bakker, President Europe at SITA said: “Through the innovative work of the SITA Lab we are able to tackle some of the key challenges that face airports today. Leo demonstrates that robotics hold the key to more effective, secure and smarter baggage handling and is major step towards further automating bag handling in airports. Leo also provides some insight into the potential use of robots across the passenger journey in future.”

Massimo Gentile, Head of IT at Genève Aéroport, said: “In a busy airport such as Geneva Airport, the use of a robot such as Leo limits the number of bags in the airport terminal, helping us accommodate a growing number of passengers without compromising the airport experience inside the terminal. Leo also proves the case for increased use of robotics to make passengers’ journey a little more comfortable, whether it is checking in baggage, providing directions or helping them through the security process.”

Leo, which was built for SITA by BlueBotics, is part of SITA’s showcase of technology at the 2016 Air Transport IT Summit taking place from 24-26 May in Barcelona.

To watch Leo in action at Geneva Airport click on the following link: www.sita.aero/baggagerobot

  • Mobile app provides ground agents with relevant real-time information for smart collaboration

Geneva | May 12, 2016– SITA, the IT provider to the air transport industry, has worked with Microsoft to deliver a Windows 10 universal app – SITA AirsideApp – a sophisticated mobile application that transforms ground operations at airports. This app, which fully digitizes processes, works on phones and tablets and can also be used with wearable computing devices for efficient hands-free operations.

Microsoft and SITA jointly developed AirsideApp to replace the current paper-based and slow manual processes by integrating the multiple airline, airport and ground handler systems used during ground operations. The app collects and shares information in real time and presents an easy-to-use interface on Windows 10 mobile devices and tablets for ground agents. In addition, notifications and status updates can be provided on the Microsoft Band allowing for hands-free updates on the go.

SITA’s mobile app is in use today at a leading Asian airline and at airports in Asia and the Middle East where it has been shown to reduce administration time to process forms and manuals by as much as 30% and increase the accuracy of time-stamped activity recording by up to 25%.

Craig Dewar, Sr. Director, Windows Commercial Product Marketing, Microsoft, said: “Microsoft has collaborated with SITA to develop this mobile solution because of SITA’s unique expertise across airline, airport and ground-handling operations. SITA’s understanding of the business processes enabled our joint design teams to deliver an app that takes advantage of the latest mobile and wearable technology and Windows 10 to provide an agile and efficient way of working at airports worldwide.”

SITA AirsideApp allows seamless integration with the variety of back-end systems in use at airports, including departure control systems, flight information, roster and inventory management and third party services. The app’s integration to these various data sources combined with mobile precision timing ensures contextual and relevant data are displayed to ground agents based on their individual work activities.

Dan Ebbinghaus, Senior Vice President, Communications and Infrastructure, SITA, said: “SITA and Microsoft have focused development on improving the workflow for ground staff at airports. By moving from paper-based checklists and operations, SITA AirsideApp eliminates fragmented processes and enables workforce collaboration. This agile way of working means it is easier to make the right decision quickly every time.”

SITA AirsideApp opens the possibility to digitize additional ground processes from any location, on any mobile device. It enables real-time monitoring of events and processes from teams and third parties. All activity recorded and collected by mobile users, such as fuelling, cleaning, catering deliveries, gate openings and passenger check-in, are displayed for supervisors on a clear business intelligence dashboard. In addition, by enabling better information sharing and communication across mobile users it improves collaboration across various groups to provide better real-time visibility of event and improve disruption management.

AirsideApp can also support mobile point-of-sales allowing agents to easily sell ancillary services such as lounge access, seat upgrades, excess bag charges or duty-free orders. This can be done on the spot without the hassle of paper-based operations and inventory reconciliation.

SITA AirsideApp is a cloud-based mobility solution designed to be easily customized and integrated within individual and unique customer ecosystems. It is backed by SITA’s global services team of more than 2,000 IT service professionals and field engineers on the ground at airports. Together they proactively monitor SITA application and network services 24/7, identifying and resolving issues before they have an impact.

SITA AirsideApp is part of SITA’s showcase of technology at the 2016 Air Transport IT Summit taking place 24-26 May in Barcelona.

  • Airline passengers want to use technology more often throughout their journey

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil | January 11, 2016– Airline passengers in Brazil are happy to use technology throughout their journey and are moving in big numbers to use self-service on their smart phones, personal computers and at kiosks. These are the results of a survey released today by global air transport IT provider, SITA.

The SITA Passenger IT Trends Survey 2015 was carried out at eight international airports in Brazil that together manage 62% of all the country’s passenger traffic. It reports that Brazil’s passengers are very positive about using self-service technology.

When it comes to checking in for flights, 80% of passengers in Brazil are positive about web check-in and 76% about self-service kiosks. This compares to only 65% of passengers being positive about checking in at a desk.

At the moment, more than half of the passengers surveyed checked in at a desk, which is higher than the global average of 43%, but looking ahead the trend is dramatically moving away from this. In fact, when asked which technology they would use for their next flight, face-to-face check-in was only picked by 28% with a strong move to using personal computers (35%) and mobile devices (24%).

Elbson Quadros, SITA Senior Sales Director, Brazil, said: “Rising passenger numbers can put a strain on services at the airport but by using technology such as web and mobile check-in airlines and airports can reduce the pressure. Here in Brazil it is encouraging to see that passengers are happy to use self-service and in fact, would like more. Airlines and airports can be confident that focusing on self-service technology, especially mobile services will make passengers happier.”

Though nearly three quarters of Brazilian passengers (72%) feel positive throughout the travel experience, this is lower than the global average of 80%. It demonstrates passengers’ desire for new services which take advantage of mobile and web technologies. Passengers here are connected, 83% carry smartphones – higher than the 23% ownership rate across the general population[1] – and they want to use them when travelling.

Some new services have real appeal in Brazil: 83% of passengers would definitely use flight updates to their mobiles, while 72% want updates on their baggage collection. This is a clear opportunity for airlines and airports in Brazil to improve the passenger experience by providing information that the passengers want sent directly to their mobile phones.

The survey also shows that more passengers check-in bags at airports in Brazil than in other parts of the world. Here again they have a desire to use self-service. Currently 17% of passengers use self bag drop services but this is set to grow to 35% over the next year.

The passengers surveyed were happiest during dwell time at the airport, the time between clearing security and boarding the flight. There was a peak of 93% positive emotions at this stage of the journey with 84% valuing entertainment and 83% eating and drinking, considerably higher than global averages. These statistics are encouraging for those airports in Brazil that have focused on the concessionary model and are providing high-quality entertainment and food and beverage services to their passengers at this point of the journey.

  • Easy-to-use, self bag drop solutions enhance SITA’s Airport Passenger Processing Product Portfolio

Geneva, Switzerland | December 2, 2015– SITA, the world’s leading specialist in air transport communications and IT solutions, today announced the acquisition of private company Type22, a market innovator that is driving the development of self-service bag drop solutions. The company founded in 2006, is based in Delft, The Netherlands.

The acquisition will strengthen SITA’s position as market leader of end-to-end technology solutions that enhance the passenger experience. The Type22 self bag drop portfolio, including Scan&Fly and Drop&Fly, will complement SITA’s suite of intelligent airport IT solutions designed to improve the entire passenger process from curb to arrival hall, resulting in reduced costs and improved customer service.

Francesco Violante, CEO of SITA, said: “SITA has been providing its ‘Self BagDrop’ solution since 2010 with several successful deployments worldwide. According to SITA’s 2015 Airport IT Trends Survey, 62% of passengers will use self-service bag drop by 2017. Recognizing the tremendous potential in the market made acquiring Type22 a logical next step that will make us leaders in self-service bag drop integrated with common-use systems. The addition of Type22’s product portfolio and expertise will provide SITA’s customers with automated self-service bag drop solutions that are perfect for both new airport terminals as well as retrofitted into existing desk environments.”

Roel Reijnen, Managing Director of Type22, said: “At Type22 we have been entirely focused on self-service bag drop solutions since 2011 and our team has the technical experience as well as a keen understanding of the needs of the customer. With an established strong customer base in Europe and Asia, we look forward to continued growth in these and other markets adding to the SITA success story.”

SITA will continue to develop Type22’s products and will provide support for all Type22’s existing customers. Members of Type22’s staff will remain located in Delft, The Netherlands.

Innovation in self-service technologies such as self-service bag drop, self-service bag tag printing and bag tracking has led to significant cost savings for the air transport industry (ATI) since 2007. More information on these trends can be found in SITA’s 2015 Airport IT Trends Survey.

    • 2015 Air Transport News Awards Recognize SITA’s Leadership and Innovation

Geneva | March 24, 2015– For the second time in the past three years, the Air Transport News (ATN) Awards have recognized air transport IT specialist, SITA, as IT Company of the Year. The 2015 award was based on SITA’s influential leadership and innovation, new solutions and achievements, social responsibility, financial performance and contribution to the air transport community.

Dave Bakker, President, SITA Europe, accepted the award on behalf of Francesco Violante, CEO of SITA, at a special ceremony in Geneva on 21 March. He commented: “SITA is honored to receive this award bestowed on us from our peers. We work with nearly every airline and airport in the world, collaborating to create community value, while exploring new technology that will help shape the future of the industry.”

In recent years, technology has driven substantial changes in both the passenger experience and industry operations. SITA provides the broadest portfolio of solutions for the air transport industry all around the world, in response to community needs. This includes solutions such as SITA’s iBorders Border Management, a fully integrated border management portfolio that helps governments modernize border security and facilitate the travel experience, and AIRCOM® FlightTracker, which guarantees regular flight position updates for flight tracking, but does not require modifications to aircraft.

SITA OnAir is working with airlines to realize the full potential of the connected aircraft, including setting the benchmark for true nose-to-tail connected aircraft solutions for both airlines and passengers. The company’s strategic technology research arm, SITA Lab, innovates on behalf of the air transport community, working with customers to pilot emerging technologies such as wearable technology, geo-localization and big data.

“SITA is 100% owned by the air transport industry, so we make strategic investments, develop new solutions and explore innovations for the benefit of the entire community,” said Bakker. “This award is a true endorsement of our direction and our strategic areas of focus and is thanks to our employees and partners, who are always looking for new ways to add more value.”

ATN has a strong subscription base of more than 42,000. The website’s readers selected all award winners based on two months of online voting, and they were later validated by a jury of industry leaders. SITA also won the ATN IT Company of the Year Award in March 2013.