Aviation Security Platform Launched by SITA

Global air transport information technology services provider SITA is launching an intelligent aviation security solution that provides a robust platform to allow governmental authorities and air transport operators (airlines, airports and cargo agents) to enhance the security of civil aviation worldwide. This will be presented to the industry by SITA at the Third International Aviation Security Technology Symposium this week in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

“SITA has a major contribution to make in improving the security of aviation and helping to rebuild a safer and more profitable industry,” said John Watson, Director General, SITA. “It is vital that all parts of air transport continue to effectively collaborate in areas of mutual benefit for the whole community. By working together to integrate new and existing solutions, SITA will ensure that accurate, real time information can be shared in a safe and secure manner between airlines and all the relevant government and security agencies. All parts of aviation should be encouraging the more extensive use of a community approach to IT.”

In response to the urgent needs of the aviation industry, SITA has services available immediately to help improve the security of baggage systems, self-service kiosks, passenger screening and all the associated IT infrastructure, Watson said. The key elements include:

Integrated Baggage Solution: Meets the Positive Passenger Bag Match (PPBM) requirement and goes beyond matching hold baggage to the passenger on board. It also tracks bags at the airport from check-in, through explosive detection screening, to loading in a container, to placement onboard an aircraft as well as in transit at intermediate airports and through to arrival at the final destination.

AirportConnect Kiosk: Provides self-service passenger check-in at kiosks, in either a dedicated or common-use environment, that includes biometric devices for passenger identification, hardware, applications and wireless connectivity.


Intelligent Border Solutions (i-Borders): Streamlines passenger processing and improves border security management by giving immigration and border authorities passenger bio-data before people travel or board an aircraft.

SecureConnect: Provides a portfolio of end-to-end managed network security solutions. This includes authentication, firewalls, intrusion protection, vulnerability analysis, virtual private networks, authentication of digital certificates, and professional security consultants for solution design and installation. SITA`s competitive integrated voice and date network services are delivered on a cooperative basis in 220 countries and territories worldwide.

All the SITA systems will integrate with explosive detection systems to provide a completely `connected` security environment at airports. Additionally, to further ensure that increased security requirements can be quickly implemented at airports worldwide, SITA has invited vendors of biometric devices to apply for certification to operate these systems over the SITA Common Use Terminal Equipment (CUTE) platform, which is currently deployed in over 200 airports worldwide.

“By making the best use of existing systems and cooperating, through SITA, to share investment in both common infrastructure and enhanced applications, all parts of air transport will be able to simultaneously save money and take advantage of the latest technologies,” said Ian Riddell, SITA`s chief operating officer. “SITA has a proven track record as a neutral provider of cost- effective, common-use IT solutions and is the obvious, natural partner of choice to continue to do this in the future.”

Based on industry standards and existing, proven technologies, SITA`s common-use airport systems improve efficiency by giving real time access to airlines and their handling agents to their own applications (such as check- in, reservations and departure control) on shared workstations that allow differentiated services to be offered to passengers.

By jointly investing in hardware, support and maintenance through SITA, the cost of ownership to all parties is reduced and the economies of scale maximized. Sharing facilities maximizes the use of limited resources and space to help airlines and airports combat congestion and cut costs. All these services are available from SITA over a global network that provides high-performance, secure and seamless connectivity to airlines, airports, travel agents and government authorities on a global basis.

SITA is a leading provider of integrated information and telecommunications solutions to the air transport industry. SITA has about 740 members and 1,800 customers, including airlines, airports, travel distribution and computer reservation systems, governmental organizations, aerospace and airfreight companies. SITA recorded corporate revenues of over US$1.57 billion in 2000.

Last week, Airbus and SITA announced the completion of first flight test of new aircraft data link Digital VDL technology will lead to a ten-fold increase in data exchange rates. Airbus and SITA have completed the first flight test of a new high capacity data link called VHF Digital Link (VDL). The flight test took place October 25th over Europe using an Airbus A320 type aircraft that linked via SITA’s new VHF ground station to a host computer in the Airbus laboratory.

The system flight test represents the culmination of an extensive development programme. The new VHF data link was defined by the ICAO Aeronautical Mobile Communications Panel (AMCP) which began its work in 1991. The VDL system uses digital signals to exchange data at a rate of 31.5 kilobits a second, compared to the current analogue signals which can get only 2.4 kilobits through the same size radio channel.

The VDL link protocol, called Aviation VHF Link Control (AVLC), is being implemented initially to transport messages for the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting Systems (ACARS) so the system is called ACARS over AVLC (AOA). More than 5000 aircraft have been equipped with ACARS data link over the last 20 years and, via the SITA AIRCOM network, the crew can communicate with airline flight operations centers and air traffic control.

The Airbus A320 took off from Toulouse and flew in a circular route via Lyon, Geneva, Orly, and Brest before landing back at Toulouse. A series of scenarios were tested including analogue to VDL switching, handoffs between VDL ground stations, VDL coverage and transmission of large amounts of uplink and downlink data (ACARS messages can be ten times longer using VDL than using analogue signals).