SITA launches dedicated air transport industry (ATI) cloud

Date: 6 April 2011
Location: London


Air transport IT specialist, SITA, today announced an ambitious programme to build a community cloud dedicated to the air transport industry (ATI) that will improve efficiencies and reduce costs. The ATI Cloud programme builds on SITA's unique community role in the industry and meets a strong demand from its ATI customers.

SITA's investment in shared cloud infrastructure is already well underway and the ATI Cloud applications and services will go live from June. These include infrastructure, platform, desktop and software-as-a-service offerings, which will enable true end-to-end business and IT solutions on demand for the unique needs of air transport.

Francesco Violante, SITA CEO, said: "SITA has a successful 60-year track record of working solely for the air transport community, taking a long-term view and investing for the industry's future. Our global communications backbone and industry knowledge provides the foundation for our investment in the ATI Cloud."

The air transport industry is truly unique and has very special needs. It integrates many different players such as airlines, airports, manufacturers and GDSs that share numerous business applications and must co-operate across the air transport eco-system. It operates on a complex set of national, regional and global regulations and standards, requiring a consistent approach across stakeholders and across IT services.

Violante added: "The best way to really serve the industry's needs is to build an integrated cloud combining network and IT solely dedicated, and specifically tailored, to the air transport industry. SITA has a community ethos of providing solutions to the air transport industry and providing the ATI cloud is the logical next step for SITA."

"The ATI Cloud is firstly about having a secure and reliable global network, and SITA already has that; the ATI Cloud is about managing shared IT infrastructure such as that at airports, in which SITA is a leader; and it is about optimising the operation and distribution of applications from data centres to end users. As the leading provider of air transport IT solutions, SITA has now committed to the delivery of the ATI Cloud."

The ATI Cloud is based on six large regional virtual data centres across five continents; together with virtual data centres based at large airports. Services will be delivered through leading-edge self-service and automation portal technology, providing IT managers with on-demand provisioning, control, visibility and reporting. End-users will be no more than 100 milliseconds away from one of the data centres.

The ATI Cloud will bring many benefits to its ATI customers.

  • It will provide agility: giving end-users the right set of applications and IT services based on their role, workplace and business profile.
  • It will provide global consistency: applications and IT services will be delivered across the world with the right performance, service level, and end-user experience across all airports and offices.
  • It will be fully integrated into the ATI ecosystem at three levels: network services will be seamlessly integrated with ATI specific applications; the ATI Cloud services will be integrated with the private cloud of ATI customers; and all ATI stakeholders will be integrated, particularly in the complex IT environment of the 320 airports where SITA already operates.
  • The ATI Cloud will also support compliance: with choice and control on where data and applications are located, in high end data centres meeting industry standards, and securely integrated with the private clouds of ATI customers.

The ATI Cloud will ensure airlines, airports and other partners are able to take full and cost-effective advantage of the business solutions that cutting edge IT has to offer. Thanks to its global reach and ubiquity, the ATI Cloud will enable ATI end-users to get simple and reliable access to a large catalogue of applications and it will provide a unique platform for independent software vendors (ISVs) and application service providers to distribute their applications to ATI customers and their end-users.

Gregory Ouillon, SITA's Vice President heading the ATI Cloud programme, said: "Putting an air transport industry cloud in place is not just about the technology but about business relevance. SITA has global distribution combined with presence at airports and the network that links all the players in this industry. SITA has specialist industry knowledge of the air transport industry. That is why SITA is the organisation best-placed and uniquely qualified to develop and implement the air transport industry cloud."

"The ATI Cloud will be a game changer for the industry. For example, by deploying new applications on virtual servers and by providing access to desktops in the cloud to its ground operations staff and partners, an airline will be able to adapt its IT to route expansion, disruption or traffic spikes at lower cost. Such deployments would normally take months but with the ATI Cloud all operators at the various locations globally will have their applications instantly."

SITA will make further announcements about the ATI Cloud in the coming months, including details of partners; applications to be launched; and first customers for the ATI Cloud. Several airlines are already involved in the pilots and others have expressed interest in becoming customers of the ATI Cloud.

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