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SITA celebrates 75 years of innovation and leadership in air transport technology

David Lavorel

The company is focused on building on its existing leadership as well as new growth areas such as regional airports, vertiports, sustainability, air traffic management, digital travel, and identities, as well as the maritime and rail industries.

GENEVA – SITA, a global leader in air transport technology, is celebrating its 75th anniversary, marking seven and a half decades of groundbreaking innovation, unwavering commitment, and exceptional service to the aviation industry.

Founded in 1949 by 11 pioneering airlines, SITA has been owned by the air transport industry and driven by its needs since its inception. SITA’s history is one of constant technological innovation, starting in 1950 when it took its first steps towards creating the world’s largest data network, which stretched across 75 communication centers for 52 airline members by 1957. In 1966, SITA launched the world’s first working network to use packet switching principles, continuing to harness the most cutting-edge developments in IT and telecommunications – even contributing to the creation of the internet in 1969 by activating the world’s first nodal distributed network.

Over the decades, as SITA continued to constantly improve and build upon its network, it also expanded its expertise to support airlines, airports, and governments in processing passengers and baggage, managing borders, driving digital efficiencies and sustainability for aircraft, and beyond. In 1984, in time to support the needs of airlines, airports, and passengers for the Los Angeles Olympic Games, SITA introduced its Common Use Terminal Equipment (CUTE) system which multiplied tenfold the number of airlines a domestic US terminal could handle.

SITA’s involvement in key global sporting events did not end there, from developing the world’s first e-visa system for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, to working closely with government, airport, and airline stakeholders to integrate digital identity and travel authorization for fans’ smooth arrival at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. In 2017, SITA introduced its ground-breaking biometric ID management technology SITA Smart Path for seamless passenger journeys, supporting airports’ and airlines’ shift to touchless, digital travel through the COVID-19 pandemic and evolving into the future with universal digital identities.

“As we celebrate our 75th anniversary, we remain steadfast in our commitment to reinvent travel and transport,” said David Lavorel, CEO at SITA. “Our vision is fueled by our passion for the industry, our forward-looking expertise, and our dedication to positively impacting our customers’ business.”

SITA’s focus on the fast-evolving industry is evident in its strategic direction, which emphasizes flexibility, agility, and innovation. The company is committed to continued transitions to Cloud and SaaS solutions, as well as frictionless end-to-end journeys with data insights and visibility to optimize operations and touchpoints across the journey. Key priorities include the industry’s operational excellence, digital transformation and sustainability, including turnaround optimization, fully biometric journeys, and efficient aircraft.

“As we look ahead, SITA remains dedicated to shaping the future of travel and transport,” added Lavorel. “Our continuous investments in innovation and strategic initiatives underscore our commitment to driving positive industry change. Our strategic direction reflects significant self-funded investments to explore opportunities and achieve sustainable organic and inorganic growth. We are committed to delivering against top agenda items, including operational excellence, sustainability, agility, and resilience.”

SITA’s leadership role in the travel and transport industry extends to achieving leadership in fast-evolving trends, technologies, and industry requirements.

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