is a multinational
A multi national corporation or enterprise , is a corporation or an enterprise that manages production or delivers services in more than one country. It can also be referred to as an international corporation...
Information technology is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a microelectronics-based combination of computing and telecommunications...
company specialising in providing IT and telecommunication services to the air transport industry. Originally known as the Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques
, the company no longer uses that long name and is now known simply as SITA.
SITA was founded in February 1949 by 11 airline
An airline provides air transport services for traveling passengers and freight. Airlines lease or own their aircraft with which to supply these services and may form partnerships or alliances with other airlines for mutual benefit...
s, providing communications for the air transport industry
The Airline Teletype System uses teleprinters, which are electro-mechanical typewriters that can communicate typed messages from point to point through simple electric communications channels, often just pairs of wires...
. The company was the first to handle data traffic in real time via a packet switched network
Packet switching is a digital networking communications method that groups all transmitted data – regardless of content, type, or structure – into suitably sized blocks, called packets. Packet switching features delivery of variable-bit-rate data streams over a shared network...
over common carrier
A common carrier in common-law countries is a person or company that transports goods or people for any person or company and that is responsible for any possible loss of the goods during transport...
A leased line is a service contract between a provider and a customer, whereby the provider agrees to deliver a symmetric telecommunications line connecting two or more locations in exchange for a monthly rent . It is sometimes known as a 'Private Circuit' or 'Data Line' in the UK or as CDN in Italy...
The company today provides a range of IT solutions as well as infrastructure and communication services for the air transport industry (as outlined below), having evolved from its early days of providing only network services.
SITA has over 550 members and more than 3200 customers. The company still provides services solely to the global air transport industry, which requires a presence in all countries where the industry operates. SITA therefore operates in over 200 countries and territories, employing people of more than 140 nationalities, speaking over 70 different languages.
SITA’s customers include: airlines, airports, Airfreight - International freight forwarders, Travel and Distribution - Global Distribution Systems, Governments, Aerospace, Ground handlers and Air Traffic Control.
SITA is owned by its air transport industry members, whom the SITA Board comprises. The company has the remit of serving the aviation community’s interests, working with the air transport community, for the benefit of the community. This includes cooperation with industry bodies, such as IATA, to solve common industry issues through the use of IT and telecommunication services, through development of community systems, industry standards and shared infrastructures for aviation. SITA also produces a number of industry surveys on Airport, Airline, Passenger and Security IT Trends, and works jointly with IATA on industry’s Baggage Report.
SITA has two main subsidiaries: OnAir
Incorporated in February 2005, OnAir is a joint venture with SITA and Airbus. OnAir is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, and has operations in Seattle and Montreal and sales offices in London, Kuala Lumpur and Dubai....
, which provides industry-leading, on-board connectivity solutions that enable passengers to stay connected while they travel
Travel is the movement of people or objects between relatively distant geographical locations. 'Travel' can also include relatively short stays between successive movements.-Etymology:...
, and CHAMP Cargosystems, the world's only IT company dedicated solely to air cargo. SITA also operates two joint ventures providing services to the air transport community: Aviareto for aircraft asset management and CertiPath for secure electronic identity management.
based in Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...
. SITA had consolidated revenues of US$1.49 billion (€1.07 billion) in 2009.
SITA’s portfolio includes: managed global communications, infrastructure and outsourcing services, as well as services for airline commercial management and passenger operations, flight operations, aircraft operations and air-to-ground communications, airport management and operations, baggage operations, transportation security and border management, and cargo operations.
In particular, SITA's portfolio services cover:
- Communications & Infrastructure - including Hybrid Networks, Voice & Convergence, Community Messaging, Infrastructure Management, and Outsourcing.
- Commercial Management - including Passenger Management, Distribution Management, Fares Management and Pricing, and Revenue Optimization.
- Passenger Operations - including Passenger Processing and In-flight Communications.
- Baggage Operations - including Baggage Management.
- Transportation Security - including Border Management.
- Cargo Operations - including Cargo Management.
- Airport Operations - including Airport Management and Master Systems Integration.
- Aircraft Operations - including Aircraft Operational Communications, and Flight Operations.
SITA's shared infrastructures include Airport Hubs, AirportConnect, CUTE and BagMessage Services, as well as systems for advanced passenger processing, reservations and fares. SITA's community systems enable even the smallest airports and airlines to stay connected, with the same quality network and systems as everybody else.
The community systems provided by SITA for the air transport industry, include:
- Aviareto – for aircraft asset management
- Certipath – for secure electronic identity management
- WorldTracer – for baggage tracking
- BagMessage – for the global exchange of IATA-standard baggage messages
- Type B – for IATA standard messaging
- iBorders – for border management solutions
- Cargo Community System – for global electronic data interchange
To help simplify communications and processes across the air transport community, SITA works with industry and standards committees to define common standards for:
- Messaging (ADS-B, Type X communications, Aero-ID and CUSS)
- Traceability (AutoID)
- Transportation security (Border Management data hub)
- Passenger Management (CUPPS) etc
Some notable recent innovations include:
An application that allows passengers to use their mobile phone for the journey, from booking right through to boarding the aircraft, to help make paperless air travel a reality.
The world's smallest full-function check-in kiosk and world's first passenger bag-drop solution which allows a single bag-drop counter to be used to service passengers from several airlines in the same queue; an innovation that will ensure a faster process flow.
CUPPS (Common Use Passenger Processing System)
A replacement for the CUTE (Common Use Terminal Equipment) check-in and boarding standard that is used today. SITA has been working with IATA and others for the last four years to introduce this capability, which will save the air transport industry millions of dollars. SITA became the first service provider to achieve CUPPS compliance certification and to successfully complete its CUPPS pilot program.
The first service for the industry to develop a monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) software tool specially designed to accurately measure carbon emissions and fuel burn from aircraft in tonne-kilometres in line with the new EU regulatory requirements.