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SITA unveils next-gen passenger services system

SITA, the air transport industry’s community provider, has invested significantly to make Horizon a truly flexible platform to meet the needs of the airlines’ changing business environment.

BRUSSELS – SITA unveiled Horizon, its next generation passenger services system (PSS), at the Air Transport IT Summit in Brussels. SITA is the only major supplier to design and build an end-to-end passenger system on a third generation platform.

As the technology landscape is changing with increasing use of mobiles and new devices, airlines need the flexibility to be able to deploy their services through any channel -both current and future- in a simple way. More than 150 airlines and ground handlers across the world currently use SITA’s PSS. They, and others, will have access to the capability to meet and adapt to changing market needs with SITA’s new, agile Horizon platform.

SITA, the air transport industry’s community provider, has invested significantly to make Horizon a truly flexible platform to meet the needs of the airlines’ changing business environment. For example, in 2010, fewer than 40% of airline sales were made through direct channels. By 2016, airlines expect that to rise to 67% (SITA/Airline Business Airline IT Trends Survey 2013). The PSS lies at the heart of the airline: it is the engine that drives the business. Legacy systems were not designed for new technologies, in particular the proliferation of mobile devices, and they struggle to cope with the huge volumes of tailored requests from passengers.

Francesco Violante, CEO, SITA said: “Today marks a milestone for our industry. The legacy systems that supported everything from reservations, to departure control and inventory management have served us well. But we are in a new era of technology, lifestyles and customer expectations, forcing rapid change both on airlines and us as their technology provider. Airlines need systems that are agile. Passenger management and distribution solutions must be able to respond to individual situations, so airlines can fully exploit customer opportunities happening in real time.

“At this time of change, it is vital that SITA made the investment in Horizon to keep competition and choice in the industry. In fact, our latest Airline IT Trends Survey shows that over the next three years, close to 50% of airlines plan major programs to upgrade their core passenger systems. SITA now has a new application infrastructure that can help airlines change how they do business.”

Horizon is designed specifically to manage this new technology landscape. This third-generation PSS is built on an agile platform using the latest technologies, unlike first and second generation systems that still depend on legacy core systems. Horizon’s service-oriented architecture also makes the valuable commercial and operational data, currently trapped inside legacy PSSs, easily available for more effective business decisions. During the design process, SITA ensured that Horizon allows business rules to be defined by the airline and consistently applied across all channels. It offers the rich functionality needed by full-service and hybrid carriers, based on an online-everywhere world.

Violante commented: “Horizon is a completely new PSS that was designed from the ground up, with the latest technology and an agile service-oriented architecture. After many years of investment, development and consultation with our airline and ground handler customers, we now have a PSS that is an integrated application infrastructure that works in our new era of multiple channels and demand for instant tailored requests.”

Visitors to SITA’s Air Transport IT Summit, which gathers hundreds of airline industry leaders for two days of insightful discussion, are being given an exclusive preview of Horizon, demonstrating the end-to-end travel process including inventory, reservations, check-in, weight and balance, all accessed through multiple touch points. The system is designed to provide genuine customer recognition from the moment of a sales query right through to service from crew during the flight. This allows airlines to maximize profitability. SITA experts are demonstrating how the system ensures data is shared in real time among all stakeholders across all applications, so passengers, agents and all other users view information that is accurate and relevant. This means airlines can consistently provide passenger services that are context-sensitive at all touch points.

SITA’s new application infrastructure is already being rolled out while extensive usability and performance testing continues with key users. Further application deployments are planned for later this year.

Tatiana Rokou

Tatiana is the news coordinator for TravelDailyNews Media Network (, and Her role includes monitoring the hundreds of news sources of TravelDailyNews Media Network and skimming the most important according to our strategy.

She holds a Bachelor's degree in Communication & Mass Media from Panteion University of Political & Social Studies of Athens and she has been editor and editor-in-chief in various economic magazines and newspapers.