Let's innovate as a community

Let's innovate as a community

Q4 2018
Let's innovate as a community

To understand the bigger picture, it is critical we collaborate as we innovate. We see our Customer Innovation Forum as a key part of our approach to collaborative innovation.

Over 100 airlines, airports and other air transport stakeholders – including around 60 SITA members – attended SITA's invitation-only Customer Innovation Forum (CIF) in 2018.

Taking place in Brussels in June, the Forum was established as part of SITA’s community remit to work with members and customers, sharing information and learning as a vital part of the innovation process.

Seeing the bigger picture

“No matter how much money or energy we invest in innovation, each of our organizations will only ever own a part of the bigger innovation picture,” said SITA CEO Barbara Dalibard, at the event’s opening.

“To understand the bigger picture, it is critical we collaborate as we innovate. We see our Customer Innovation Forum as a key part of our approach to collaborative innovation.”

Exploring use cases, together

The CIF set out to pinpoint and explore use cases for new technologies in a series of workshops addressing ‘Technology-enabled collaboration’, ‘Predictive disruption’, the ‘Seamless passenger journey’ and the ‘Autonomous airport’.

“The potential of emerging technologies was the constant context for the workshops,” says Ian Ryder, who runs SITA’s Innovation Board.

“Those technologies include artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, blockchain, cloud computing, sensor devices, the Internet of Things (IoT), and others,” he adds.

“With around 290 use cases identified from the CIF, our focus is on areas where these technologies offer significant potential value to the community. We’ll explore some of these use cases jointly with members and customers, with the intent to position them on SITA’s development roadmap.”

'Be part of the future’

Delegates exclusively received a report of the event’s outcomes in Q3 2018, titled 'Be part of the future – preparing air travel for the years ahead'.

The report summarized use cases across multiple areas, including the enhanced passenger experience, at-airport operational and planning efficiency, passenger tracking, delayed or cancelled flights, biometric identification and single token travel.


The report included the following observations and recommendations based on the findings and feedback from participants:

  1. Technological disruption is happening now. Some are embracing it, others are struggling to make sense of the scale and pace of change.
  2. More guidance is needed about new technologies – right up to the executive leadership team and board levels.
  3. The industry needs to see real world proofs of concept to be able to appreciate the implications of new technologies and associated process changes.
  4. It is desirable to have support from organizations such as SITA for this exploration of innovation opportunities.

Proofs of concept

On the point about proofs of concept, Ryder adds: “There was recognition of the need to encourage fast track experiments to accelerate organizational learning about the benefits and challenges of deploying technologies.

“This is an approach SITA takes with many members in a variety of areas, our Aviation Blockchain Sandbox being a perfect example.”

Save the date: 18-20 June 2019

Scoring a high overall satisfaction rate, the CIF was well received, with 98% of participants saying they would recommend the CIF to colleagues. The clear message they conveyed was that collaboration is fundamental to dealing with the increased growth and complexity of our industry.

Save the date for the next SITA Innovation Forum on 18-20th June in Antwerp, Brussels. 

A commitment to ‘Community Value’ for air transport

Being owned by our members, SITA takes its role of providing value to the air transport community very seriously. Collaborative innovation, such as the Customer Innovation Forum and the many trials and proofs of concept with members, is a clear example of performing that role.

This is measured every year in SITA’s corporate objectives through our Community Value Index (CVI). From 974 surveys of customers and council representatives, the result in 2018 was a very strong CVI result of 3.76, well above the target of 3.60 and prior year of 3.61.

In 2018, after reviewing feedback from the previous year’s findings with the SITA Council (comprising 34 SITA member representatives), SITA has taken steps to better leverage the vast knowledge that resides within the SITA Council to deepen our engagement with the community.

The SITA Council, with its membership representing over 90% of the world's airline businesses, is about the most representative body there is for air transport.

See ‘SITA Executive Advisory Forum – shaping our development roadmap’ and ‘SITA Council poised to award innovative projects’.

SITA Executive Advisory Forum – shaping our development roadmap

As discussed with the SITA Council in June, the SITA Executive Advisory Forum (SEAF) has been launched to bring together a selection of industry leaders with strong expertise and insights to advise on a range of topics, including innovation, portfolio and product.

The SEAF will play an important part in shaping SITA’s development roadmap. Including several SITA Council Representatives, executives from our biggest customers and other experts, the inaugural meeting addressed portfolio strategy and selected innovation topics, and took place on 30-31 October in Zurich, Switzerland.

SITA Council poised to award innovative and service-focused projects

The SITA Council agreed to the launch in May 2018 of the ‘SITA Council Awards’ with the aim of recognizing the work of SITA employees in supporting innovation and better meeting member and customer needs.

After an overwhelming response from SITA teams, submissions for the 2018 SITA Council Awards closed with over 50 entries.

Within the categories of ‘Innovation’ and ‘Stepping up for the customer’, SITA teams nominated projects for awards that deliver high value and impact, as well as excellent service, to SITA members, customers and the air transport community at large.

Who’s on the Council Award Panel?

Having reviewed the submissions, SITA’s Executive Team shortlisted 16 for evaluation by the Council Award Panel. The panel comprises: Martin Bordt (Cargolux), Kelly Cunningham (United Airlines), Susan Doniz (Qantas Airways), Ilia Perevalov (Aeroflot) and Eash Sundaram (JetBlue Airways).

Shortlisted projects

‘Innovation’ – the award shortlist 

• eWAS for Air France

• BagTrust development

• Biometric exit for JetBlue

• Mobile Passport Control for Miami Airport

• NetScan baggage scanning for Bahamasair

• Flight disruption prediction for Changi Airport

• SDN for Malaysia Airlines

• KPI inclusion in airline service agreements

‘Stepping up for the customer’ – the award shortlist 

• iBorders for Australian Department of Home Affairs

• ACARS FlightMessage for AZUL

• WAN Outage for Cathay Pacific

• Opening support for Changi Airport’s T4

• Cutover of T3 at Cochin Airport, 2017

• Support for Delta in Brussels

• Scan & Fly installation for KLIA

• ‘TransformNow’ at Malta Airport

And the winners are …

Watch this space! Recommendations are with the SITA Council for endorsement at the December Council meeting, where the winners will be decided and announced. This will be followed by a formal ceremony at each of SITA’s Geography Sales Kick-off events in early 2019. 

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