The connected community

The connected community

Air transport players need radically smarter ways to enable an ever more connected community.

Powerful trends are shaping a new generation of air transport community requirements, not just for greater bandwidth but for ever greater connectivity on demand. 

Dan Ebbinghaus“With the continued adoption of mobile communications, travel-related apps, e-aircraft and more, it’s clearly evident that we’re witnessing the dawning of a new era in the community’s connectivity needs and expectations,” says Dan Ebbinghaus, SVP Communications & Infrastructure Solutions, SITA.

Gigantic change

To cater for air transport’s fast emerging and future connectivity needs, a transformational communications program – specifically aimed at community requirements – has been underway at SITA to deliver new levels of global and local network services. See ‘A new era of connectivity for air transport'.

As the hub of community communications, the airport will undergo gigantic change as it becomes ever more connected. By 2030, 18,000 potential communications users will be present at the world’s airports. We’ll see 500 new airports – a 30% increase over today – and a 40% capacity growth in existing airports.

On demand

Yet one of the community’s biggest bugbears has been the achievement of reliable, secure, high performance communications – consistently across the world’s airports – whether for airlines, ground handlers, maintenance companies, other airport tenants, or indeed the airports themselves.

“Wherever they fly, low cost, hybrid and flag carriers all need high levels of connectivity on demand,” says Ebbinghaus.

“So do all the other airport tenants, be it at the airport or for back office systems off the airport. Ubiquitous usage of cloud-based applications has heighted community demands, as has the need for wireless mobile connectivity at hub and destination airports, for mobile devices and next generation e-aircraft.”

Community remit

To meet the global need, SITA has continued to roll out a massive and unique airport communications program over the last couple of years.

Called AirportHub™, as an airport-wide shared connectivity platform it ensures airports can provide their airlines, ground handlers and other tenants with secure and reliable bandwidth, including wireless connectivity to access off-airport applications.

“It’s in every airports’ interest to have AirportHub to connect their entire communities,” adds Ebbinghaus.

“Importantly, it also helps to reduce the total cost of ownership through shared infrastructure and community solutions around the world, as part of SITA’s remit to provide value to the community.”

Importantly, it also helps to reduce the total cost of ownership through shared infrastructure and community solutions around the world, as part of SITA’s remit to provide value to the community.

Dan Ebbinghaus, Air Travel Solutions, Strategy Management, SITA


The program’s scale is truly global, with over 260 airports already deployed, delivering around 2,700 connections across the world. The plan is to cover 700 airports, dramatically expanding airport coverage and reaching 80% of airlines’ international destination airports, in the next three years.

“There’s nothing else like it,” says Ebbinghaus. “Making available this standard of communication across the whole community really sets apart the AirportHub program. Again, it underlines SITA’s community role as the backbone and leader in providing air transport communications.

“In addition to cost savings through shared and common use infrastructure, there are vast savings in the time and hassle of sourcing from local telecom companies, managing multiple suppliers and having to cope with long lead times.”


Among the 260-plus AirportHub airports are Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino and Moscow’s Domodedovo, who cite the advantages they’re delivering to airlines and other tenants.

Responsible for ICT Services Commercialization, Lorenzo Passaro at Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport cites the need “to greatly enhance and simplify communications at our airport."

“The tenant offering is now a major improvement,” he adds, “getting rid of a tangle of multiple routers and circuits, with all the associated complexity and cost. As a cost-effective shared platform, AirportHub achieves this at the airport for all tenants.”

Meantime, Igor Borisov, Director Domodedovo Airport, says that AirportHub’s wireless deployment “is great news for our airline partners. Many of them already use this service at other international airports. Now it is available in Domodedovo too.”

Game changer

Ebbinghaus again: “SITA’s AirportHub is a crucial part of our evolving new generation communications services for connecting the air transport community.

“These are game changing capabilities, for full service carriers, hybrids and LCCs alike – as well as almost any airport and tenant in every corner of the globe.”

Latest AirportHub™ papers

For airports: ‘Airport connectivity simplified’. How better IT infrastructure can improve operations and attract airlines.

For airlines: ‘On-demand connectivity, wherever you fly’- international communication services to airlines and other players at more than 200 international airports.

Go to AirportHub™

A new era of connectivity

In a major transformational program, SITA is paving the way in delivering next generation communications services specifically for air transport community requirements.

Already, SITA uniquely covers 220 countries and territories as well as 95% of all international destinations, as the community’s leading network services provider.

At the forefront

The program consolidates SITA’s position at the forefront of air transport community communications. It involves the launch of SITA Connect, with:

  • Integrated network services based on agreements with global network partner Orange Business Services and leading regional providers
  • The ability to provide best value, competitiveness, service and capacity in every corner of the globe, whether at the airport or in remote offices, building on SITA’s unrivalled airport footprint of 1,200 different airports served by 700 airlines
  • Expertise on the ground due to the regional operators’ long-standing relationships with local access providers and governments, giving airlines reduced lead time to connect, connectivity on demand and improved application performance 
  • Pre-connected airports via AirportHub and at application provider data centers. Some services are specifically designed to build on AirportHub for airport-based organizations.
  • A variety of Internet access and cloud solutions
  • Services for seasonal bandwidth and bandwidth on demand to cater to the various business models of low cost carriers, hybrids and full service carriers. This enables airlines to test new routes, or operate seasonal destinations more cost effectively.

As part of the next generation offerings, all air transport community players gain access to a single integrated service, delivery and operations – from a single trusted data supplier, SITA, for all communications needs, including network management, integration and support.

This is backed by a new SITA Network Services Delivery and Operations Center, and Service Desk, dedicated to air transport industry customers and run by industry specialists. The center has global responsibility for the smooth running of network services delivery and operations, including AirportHub™, IP services and SITA’s data backbone.

Leaders in the Gartner Magic Quadrant

SITA strategic communications partner Orange Business Services has been positioned in the Leaders quadrant in the 'Gartner Magic Quadrant for Network Services, Global'. The January 2016 report evaluated 12 network service providers on their ability to execute and the completeness of their vision. Orange Business Services has been positioned the highest along the “ability to execute” axis.

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