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About SITA

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sita history - key events

SITA was a pioneer in international telecommunications for the air transport industry and has continued to operate at the forefront of technology.

From its foundation as Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques, SITA’s remit as a member-based organization has been to deliver value to the air transport community through technology, emphasizing cost-effectiveness, operational efficiency and cost reductions, as well as the sharing of new technology and innovation for the community’s benefit.

That remit is no different today. With around 450 air transport members worldwide, SITA remains unique in addressing community requirements over the long term. Our members include airlines, airports, aerospace companies, GDSs, air traffic management organizations, air freight businesses, governments and international organizations.

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There will be more milestones to come, but only time can tell what they'll be!

1949

SITA is founded by eleven airlines: Air France, KLM, Sabena, Swissair, TWA, British European Airways Corporation (BEAC), British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC), British South American Airways (BSAA), Swedish A.G.Aerotransport, Danish Det Danske Luftfartselskab A/S and Noweigan Det Norske Luftfartselskap.

1950

SITA opens its first telecommunications centre in Rome. Information is manually transmitted using perforated tape and teleprinters. This is the first generation of the world's largest network.

1966

The first computer adapted for message switching opens in Frankfurt.

1969

SITA's High Level Network is implemented. This leads to the development of the world's first worldwide packet switching network dedicated to business traffic. This is the second generation of the world's largest communications network.

1971

Interactive data exchange between terminals becomes available. SITA implements its first satellite processor. This vastly expands the number of locations to be equipped with computerized systems.

1972

SITA creates International Telecommunications Services, or ITS (later, Equant Integration Services). ITS provides integrated network solutions and maintenance to SITA members.

1981

The SITA network expands with the introduction of the Data Transport Network. This is the third generation of the world's largest network.

1984

SITA's first air-ground service, VHF AIRCOM, is introduced.

SITA's Common Use Terminal Equipment (CUTE) system launches – enabling airlines to share check-in terminals.

1989

SITA membership is extended to include computer reservations systems, aerospace manufacturers, tour operators, airfreight forwarders, airport authorities and other related air transport organizations.

1991

The Mega-Transport Network becomes operational. This forms the fourth generation of the world's largest network.

1992

Air-to-ground telephony is introduced with SATELLITE AIRCOM. The first communications are initiated from on board an Air France and Lufthansa Boeing 747-400.

1995

SITA launches AeroNet as the intranet for the aerospace and air transport community.

1996

Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) technology begins to be installed over the SITA network. It enables the transport of mixed voice and data traffic. This is the fifth generation of the world's largest network.

1999

SITA raises billions of dollars for the air transport industry with the public offering of Equant (now Orange Business Services).

2000

SITA partners with CPS Systems to create the world's first global electronic visa system.

2001

SITA acquires the Equant Applications Services (EAS) business unit from Equant (now Orange Business Services). The unit is to operate as SITA Advanced Travel Solutions – and will continue to provide web-based applications and e-commerce integration services for the travel and transport sectors.

Aviareto is set up by international treaty. Aviareto, a joint venture with the Irish government to provide a global registry to safeguard lending rights, launches.

2003

SITA creates SITA INC as a commercial company. SITA SC continues to provide communications services on a not-for-profit co-operative basis.

SITA acquires the private company Eland Technologies, a provider of advanced solutions for the travel industry. Eland becomes part of SITA’s Passenger and Travel Solutions business unit.

2004

CHAMP Cargosystems is jointly set up by SITA Cargo (UK) Ltd with Cargolux. CHAMP is the world’s only company solely dedicated to the provision of IT solutions to the air cargo industry, with over 60 airline customers.

.aero launches. SITA sponsors the .aero Top Level Domain name on behalf of the aviation community. .aero is reserved exclusively for aviation.

2005

OnAir a joint venture with SITA and Airbus, launches. It is the leading pioneer of inflight communications. The service brings the use of mobile phones and other personal communications devices on board aircraft.

CertiPath, a SITA venture with Exostar and ARINC, launches. Certipath is established to design, implement and market a secure Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) bridge – enabling the use of “trusted” digital identities globally.

2006

With industry trends moving towards communications and IT convergence, SITA consolidates into a single organization. It focuses on providing global integrated communications and IT services to the air transport industry.

2007

Air France becomes the first airline in the world to offer an in-flight mobile phone service on international flights using OnAir.

SITA creates a new, powerful software division.

The next generation passenger management investment begins.

2008

CHAMP acquires specialist cargo software company Softair AG, expanding its customer base and offering the logistics market a proven next generation system.

SITA Lab is set up to innovate collaboratively with customers for community benefit, in areas such as mobility and wireless.

SITA consolidates its leadership in border management by becoming the first IT provider worldwide to receive US government approval to transmit passenger data at check-in, based on its Advance Passenger Information Quick Query (AQQ) service.

SITA embarks on a major Service Desk Integration and the Next Generation Data Centers investment begins.

2009

SITA commemorates 60 years of working for the air transport industry.

SITA makes strategic agreements with Orange Business Services and Oracle.

2010

A new Command Center opens in Montreal.

SITA acquires WorkBridge and Com-Net as it strives towards the intelligent airport vision.

2011

A new Command Center opens in Singapore.

SITA members vote for a stronger SITA model with exclusive air transport industry focus.

First Air Transport Industry Community Cloud launched (ATI Cloud).

2012

SITA sets out 2020 Vision and Strategy, embracing the need to use IT to work collaboratively across the air transport industry.

First air transport industry NFC pilot solution, speeding passenger access and boarding via NFC-enabled smartphones.

2013

SITA takes majority ownership of its OnAir subsidiary.

SITA Bureau Services (SBS) is created to focus on financial services and introduce ATI Cloud capabilities to air transport. SBS launches Flightyield, an outsourced invoicing and revenue service for Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs), in partnership with CANSO and New Zealand's ANSP 'Airways'.

IT Company of the Year award, Air Transport News (ATN) 2012-13, adding to a string of awards for SITA.

2014

Milestone agreement with strategic partner Orange Business Services and five regional service providers to deliver a new era of connectivity to meet fast evolving needs in the air transport industry.

First Google Glass and Smart Watch pilot projects with Virgin Atlantic and Copenhagen Airport.

First Common Use Beacon Registry

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