ARINC and SITA explore biz messaging

Incorporated and SITA have announced the formation of an Industry
technical work group to define the next generation of business to
business messaging for the Air Transport Industry.The work group
will formalise standards to complement industry Type B messaging with a
new approach using XML technology and Service Oriented Architecture for

The work group membership has already grown to include Northwest
Airlines, British Airways, Worldspan, Amadeus, Lufthansa Systems, Sabre,
Galileo and Mercator - reflecting strong industry support for the
initiative by both airlines and application providers.

The ATI is one of the most highly integrated industries in the world,
requiring millions of messages per day for reservations, passenger
processing, and general operations - even the equivalent of “email” to
airplanes. An estimated 40 million Type B messages per day are processed
by ARINC and SITA and delivered across vast extranets to a wide variety
of industry participants. Today the industry uses a broad range of
modern and legacy protocols - a heritage that dates back to teletype.
The move to define an XML based approach addresses the growing demand to
enable secure and robust communications using what has become the
technology of choice for modern applications.

Standardising on an approach is particularly challenging in the ATI due
to the substantial population of legacy applications and the high levels
of reliability and security demanded for mission critical and highly
automated operational applications. The work group will address issues
of backward compatibility for legacy applications, interoperability,
reliability, and security - all of which pose unique challenges for the
current XML based communications frameworks. The work group will also
grapple with competing frameworks such as Web Services and ebXML,
drawing from standards being guided by Internet standards groups such as
W3C and OASIS. By focusing on communications infrastructure for
operational messaging, the Type X work group will complement efforts in
the industry underway through the Open Travel Alliance (OTA) and IATA’s
XML Task Force (XMLTF).

“We see a tremendous benefit to the industry of migrating to XML
technology and Internet based communications” said Ruth Hough, Vice
President of ARINC Network Solutions. “Adoption will lower the cost of
business for the airlines and application providers, and increase
flexibility. Most airlines already use the technology internally, so
removing the legacy layer and using a framework like Web Services for
business to business communications is a natural next step.” 


“SITA and ARINC are in a unique position in the aviation industry to
sustain support of business critical communications through development
of XML-based standards”, stated Brijdeep Sahi, Vice President of
Marketing for SITA SC. “As with past technology transitions, industry
specific standards and communications technology expertise are needed to
guide the industry through the complex transition to a Service Oriented
Architecture and take full advantage of the benefits of XML.”

The TypeX work group has rapidly moved to formalise industry messaging
requirements and is well into analysing the competing frameworks against
these requirements to identify gaps.  By the end of second quarter 2006,
the work group plans to have established specifications and execute
targeted live demonstration projects by the end of next year.