ARINC, SITA team up on XML

ARINC Incorporated and SITA have released a detailed
set of standards and specifications to enable the adoption of efficient,
XML-based business-to-business messaging in the Air Transport Industry
(ATI). The standards define a new messaging approach—Type X—making
use of XML and Web Services technology to complement existing industry
Type B messaging.

ARINC and SITA operate extensive global networks carrying an estimated 40
million Type B messages daily for airline reservations, passenger
check-ins, baggage handling, and data communication between airlines,
global distribution systems, ground handlers, and other travel service
providers. The underlying IATA standard spans both legacy and Internet
Protocol (IP) communications, and today’s modern communications may still
use Type B message formats, but Type X will enable more cost efficient IT
environments and flexible communications.

The standards and specifications ratified this week represent more than a
year of development by a blue-ribbon industry work group including
Amadeus, British Airways, Galileo, Lufthansa Systems, Mercator, Northwest
Airlines, Sabre, and Worldspan.

The group has worked closely with the IATA XML Task Force, OASIS, and the
OpenTravel Alliance to develop an open standards-based specification,
complementary to the efforts of these groups.

“The industry is in the midst of significant transition and under
tremendous pressure to lower costs,” said Michael McShea, Senior Director
of Global Product Management for ARINC Network Solutions. “Web Services
and XML-based messaging stand to improve collaboration dramatically in the
industry, while lowering application development and maintenance costs for
business-to-business integration, and increasing use of the Internet.”


Mansour Rezaei-Mazinani, Head of Network Services Engineering at SITA,
stated “Transitioning to XML will pave the way for changes being driven by
the industry-wide implementation of applications such as e-ticketing and
new security requirements for passenger processing, while enabling
significant benefits delivered by the use of XML technologies. These
include driving down spending on development and maintenance, reducing
costs related to legacy platforms, and enabling faster integration of

The specifications were formally ratified by the Type X work group earlier
this week and will now be more broadly released to the industry. By the
end of year the Type X Work Group plans to sponsor pilot projects to
demonstrate real-life implementation of the Type X standard. A White Paper
has also been released by the companies, showing how Type X can
revolutionize the industry’s business communications, lower the cost of
development, integration and operations, and help meet the challenges of
emerging applications.