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Travel apps across the journey

If you want to develop travel apps that span the journey, then is your port of call for the technology resources, data and support you’ll need.

We’re in a new age of app development. For decades, the career of an airline ‘programmer’ was confined to the complex world of air fare inventory, passenger reservations and departure control – complete with legacy mainframe infrastructure and associated proprietary processes and terminology.

But the boom in mobile technology has turned programmers into developers and introduced a whole new dynamic.

The question is: how do we marry the complex world of airline computing – and its essential overlay of security regulation – with the fast and furious pace of evolving mobile and social media platforms? Is it really a match made in heaven?


Thankfully, the air transport industry has understood that air travel shopping and booking is now an integral offering from internet and social media giants, who are making a whole range of information universally accessible on every technology platform imaginable.

To succeed in exploring and launching travel apps for all platforms, developers need broad experience and a smörgåsbord of tools, data and support.  
If they get it right, there are real business benefits to be had, including:

  • Lower development costs and resources
  • Complete control over self service strategies
  • Improved passenger flow and real time interaction
  • Development of new channels with consistent experiences
  • Access to the latest emerging technologies
  • Future proof IT investment

To that end, the portal provides a range of powerful APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) to support travel app developers in the production of apps for many stages across the journey. That includes supporting documentation, demos, case studies and testing facilities.

Restful revolution

APIs are key to the exploitation of emerging and disruptive technologies. They empower developers in their quest to develop the latest travel app or convenient smartphone or tablet utility for passengers, flight crews and airport personnel.

The newer, mobile-friendly ‘RESTful APIs’ are replacing older Enterprise SOA services and are a simpler, more lightweight, scalable technology.

These APIs maximize the use of the existing, well-defined interfaces and other built-in capabilities. They expedite the design of apps by providing simple data query and retrieval services on host systems without requiring familiarity with complex airline business operations.

Publishing RESTful APIs on opens up the power of the innovation behind a range of SITA managed services allowing developers to do what they do best … developing apps.

SITA’s APIs facilitate a common access to the right airline data at the right time, securely, while observing all the relevant data ownership, privacy issues and industry standards.


The self-service approach to development – the core philosophy of – is clearly shown in the powerful Boarding Pass API.

This provides the tools for developers to create, brand and distribute their own mobile boarding passes within a secure framework that supports IATA and TSA regulations.

It also offers a wealth of utilities for integrating boarding passes with other smartphone apps such electronic wallets (Passbook, Samsung Wallet, Google Wallet) and the Google Now, predictive search assistant.

This niche service facilitates the increasing convergence of web and mobile technologies, where mobile boarding passes are becoming an integral part of the web check-in process. Developers have complete control over the branding and intelligent distribution of their passes using an intuitive console, with minimal integration with airline check-in systems required.

Beacon registry

The portal is now the single point of contact to investigate beacons deployed by airports around the world. SITA is the community provider for beacons, where airlines do not have dedicated gates or other infrastructure.

A shared approach to beacons, with which airlines can associate their own mobile apps, is a far more efficient and effective operation than each airline managing a set of beacons at each airport. The same access point can be used by beacon owners to manage and maintain the meta-data for each beacon.

Airports, airlines and app developers who are interested in leveraging the potential of beacons in the air transport industry are invited to join the project.

Departure to arrival

Travel app developers will soon have all the data and tools at their fingertips to provide complete passenger solutions across the travel sphere, from travel planning, to airport shopping and navigation, security clearance, boarding, baggage and arrival.

Through, suites of passenger apps can be quickly assembled to suit any airline mobile strategy. For example, by combining the BagJourney and WorldTracer APIs to check the status of the missing bag, a report for a delayed or lost bag can be filed direct from a smartphone or tablet.

Another example is a mashup of the iTravel API and Boarding Pass API for passenger mobile apps, to integrate functionality and data from SITA reservation, fares and WorldTracer baggage systems.

This enables passengers to book flights, check-in, view flight status and schedules, view lost bag status and get mobile-specific flight deals.

The beginning

“As travel app developers embrace, it marks only the beginning of the portal’s journey as a development resource for the air transport industry,” says Jim Peters, SITA’s CTO.  

The portal will see the continuous addition of new SITA APIs, sample code, case studies, data registries, and other services that exploit the technologies of new age development.

“These will continue to empower developers with the tools they need to create the next generation apps,” says Peters.

“They will also extend the reach of airline and airport data and operations into any medium that creates a better passenger experience.”

For more

Go to
You can also access our article Towards the vision: self-service.

Developing apps - from departure to arrival

Currently available on SITA’s API portal:


    • Boarding Pass API. Allows airlines complete flexibility in the creation and distribution of mobile boarding passes.


    • BagJourney API. Enables retrieval of the real time status of a specific bag, or list of bags, on a particular flight.


    • iTravel API. Provides a simple, convenient and cost effective alternative to the conventional development of airline customer applications using SITA’s Reservation Web Services (only available to airlines hosted on Horizon, SITA’s passenger services system, or their accredited developers).


    • atiBeacon API. Retrieves information about beacons in airports and sets beacon locations and meta-data.


  • Airport API. A free API which retrieves information about airports. Allows developers to test and familiarize themselves with SITA’s API management systems.
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