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Africa|Aviation|Business|Innovation|Sustainable|System|Systems|Technology|transport|Equipment
Africa|Aviation|Business|Innovation|Sustainable|System|Systems|Technology|transport|Equipment
africa|aviation|business|innovation|sustainable|system|systems|technology|transport|equipment

Global aviation’s IT company celebrates 75 years of innovation

27th February 2024

By: Rebecca Campbell

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Specialist air transport industry information technology (IT) group SITA is currently celebrating its seventy-fifth anniversary. It should be noted that the first controlled flight of a powered aircraft, by the Wright brothers, had taken place only 36 years earlier (December 1903) than SITA’s foundation in 1949, by 11 airlines (of which only two still exist today, although they are now part of the same group, six others – three British and three Scandinavian – were subsequently merged into two airlines, one each in the UK and Scandinavia, which continue to operate today, while the other three have gone out of business).

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

The name SITA was originally an acronym for Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques (in English: International Aeronautics Telecommunications Company), but the full name is no longer used. It must not be confused with South Africa’s State IT Agency, which uses the same acronym.

SITA has long been a world leader in telecommunications and IT systems. It was in 1966 that the company launched the first-ever working network employing packet switching principles. In 1969, SITA activated the first nodal distributed network in the world, a technology that helped with the later roll-out of the Internet. In 1984, it introduced its Common Use Terminal Equipment system, in time for the Los Angeles Olympics of that year, which increased the number of airlines that a US domestic airport terminal could handle by ten times.

Its record of innovation has grown continually. SITA developed the world’s first e-visa system for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. In 2017, it brought out its Smart Path biometric ID management technology. In 2022, working with the host government, airport and airlines, it integrated digital ID and travel authorisations for the 2022 Qatar Soccer World Cup.

“As we look ahead, SITA remains dedicated to shaping the future of travel and transport,” highlighted 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.”

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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