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Italian company specializes in tailor-made software solutions for airports and is the main IT provider for Naples Airport

SITA, the leading IT provider to the air transport industry, today announced that it had acquired 100% of Software Design, an Italian software and solution integrator tailored to airports and the main IT service provider to Naples Airport.

Through this acquisition, SITA will strengthen its capacity to help airports in Italy and Europe seamlessly manage and integrate technology across numerous systems and providers. Software Design brings to SITA a strong team of experts with deep airport knowledge, as well as project management and system integration expertise. With more than 50% of revenue now derived from application-based solutions, SITA is experiencing a growing demand for its airport-specific integration capabilities.

SITA, through Software Design, will evolve the day-to-day management of all IT infrastructure and applications at Naples Airport. This will enable the airport to leverage SITA’s experience in passenger and baggage processing, border management and airport operations to drive a major modernization of the airport’s IT and digital infrastructure. The airport, which is one of the fastest-growing airports in Italy, plans to step up its investment in technology to help meet the demands of that growth, with SITA leading its implementation. 

SITA has acquired Software Design from the company’s managing shareholders and 2i Aeroporti S.p.A, a joint venture between F2i, the largest infrastructure fund operating in Italy, and Ardian, a world-leading private investment house. Together F2i and Ardian control one of Italy’s main airport networks that includes Naples, Milan, Turin, Alghero, Bologna and Trieste airports, serving more than 58 million passengers and 650,000 tons of freight every year.

Sergio Colella, SITA President for Europe, said: “Airports are increasingly implementing digital transformation programs to keep up with rapidly changing passenger expectations as well as their quest for operational excellence. With this acquisition, SITA complements its IT expertise in the air transport industry with those of Software Design, one of the leading IT players operating in the Italian airports space. This will allow SITA, through Software Design, to power transformation for the benefit of the Italian aviation industry.” 

In welcoming the 70-strong Software Design team to SITA, Colella confirmed that the company would continue to operate from Naples Airport, with SITA leading an investment and transformation program to strengthen the team’s capability to grow its presence across airports in Europe.

Renato Ravanelli, CEO of F2i, said: “We welcome SITA’s investment in Software Design as evidence of the excellent work achieved by our management team. We are sure that, with the new shareholder, one of the world leaders in IT solutions for the air transport industry, Software Design will have access to a new level of competency and development. Naples Airport, together with the other airports served by Software Design in Italy and Europe, will be able to provide a seamless passenger journey while further investing in the modernization of the airport’s digital infrastructure.”

Mathias Burghardt, member of the Executive Committee and head of Ardian Infrastructure, added: “Ardian Infrastructure’s vision is to create long-term value and sustainability by blending digital services and physical infrastructure assets. We will continue innovating together with SITA with a particular focus on the environmental and carbon emission impacts.”

Massimiliano Gentile, MD of Software Design, said: “We are looking forward to joining the SITA team. This acquisition is an important step to reinforcing our innovation capabilities and opening new markets. SITA will be instrumental in leading us in our next chapter of growth.” 

Roberto Barbieri, CEO of GESAC, concessionaire holder and operator of Naples Airport, said: “In 2018 Naples Airport achieved passenger growth of 16% and today serves more than 10-million passengers. This growth requires a new approach and investment in the airport’s digital systems so that we have in place a robust infrastructure to provide a great customer journey to a growing number of passengers in future. With the sale of Software Design, we will be able to tap SITA’s global expertise and experience.”