SITA upgrades reservation system

SITA is planning to develop a new Passenger Reservations System, continuing SITA’s programme of high tech innovation for the 138 airlines which use the airline IT provider’s SITA Reservations services.

The new system covering Reservations, Inventory, Ticketing and Departure Control will be the final installment of SITA’s Horizon portfolio of passenger management solutions based on open systems technology.

This decision follows the recent successful migration by SITA of over 120 airlines from a legacy mainframe environment to its Airfare pricing applications suite. Some of the world’s largest airlines now use Airfare to manage air fares for maximised yield, global distribution and pricing for traditional sales and in e-commerce applications.

SITA’s investment will be in the region of $100 million by the time of project completion in five years, making it one of the company’s most strategic IT projects and SITA’s largest-ever single investment in passenger management.

SITA CEO, Francesco Violante, said: “This decision confirms SITA’s commitment to strengthening its position as a major player in this strategic market segment, supporting industry efforts to manage the enormous passenger growth expected by 2020 - over three billion passengers compared to today’s 2.2 billion. Our strategy is to meet the evolving needs of our airline customers and to expand in the market place attracting additional airlines.


“There will be no disruptive ‘big bang’ replacement of systems, but a series of innovational waves which will enhance and extend the functionality of existing systems with next generation, value added services. The new system will be based on a Service Oriented Architecture which will give us the flexibility to incorporate also, when appropriate, state-of-the-art software available on the market.

“The end result will be the retirement of today’s mainframe technology following a well-managed migration to new applications. New technology adoption will be carefully phased to accelerate the delivery of business value while minimizing risk and ensuring continuity of operation.

“Our unique relationship with the airline community will support our progress as we pursue an incremental approach to the introduction of new functionality over the next five years and it will ensure that the solutions we deliver are genuinely adapted to the needs of our customer airlines as we will actively invite their participation.”

Over 115 million passengers are boarded each year using the existing SITA Reservations services and the goal is to grow this base significantly. The Passenger Reservations System will mean that SITA’s Horizon portfolio will cover the entire range of airline passenger services from on-line booking to departure control.

Richard Stokes, SITA Senior Vice President for Passenger Travel Solutions, said: “We have learned from our successful development of global pricing solutions that large-scale migration of airlines is best handled through the introduction of new functionality in carefully coordinated ‘waves’ delivering real business value.

“We have already identified a number of functionalities as the initial focus of the programme in the coming 12 to 18 months. These include flexible customer journey management, with a next generation PNR for customer-centric searching and reporting, and a free standing DCS weight and balance system.

“We also plan to innovate around our existing calendar pricing availability service, minimise mainframe dependencies and to provide a platform for future revenue management innovations in later waves of the programme. All of these capabilities will be delivered through an integrated next generation GUI adapted to the needs of individual airlines and stakeholders.”

Further developments under the programme will extend the scope of Horizon for increased airline profitability, enhanced customer centricity, distribution optimization, efficient self service and actionable business intelligence.