Travel

SITA – Video and Podcast Interview with Sumesh Patel, President



(08/07/24)
 
SITA recently reported record results for 2023,
with revenues reaching almost US$ 1.5 billion, an increase of 7%
on 2022, with signs that the company is heading towards a similar
positive performance this year.

Unveiling the results at SITA’s Annual General
Assembly in June, SITA CEO David Lavorel also cited growth in
margin and EBITDA, which exceeded plans by 4%.

“Every one of our customers and members benefits
from our strong performance and growth,” said Lavorel. “It means
we can self-fund our portfolio evolutions and explore further
innovation opportunities. This is vital as we address the big
trends now facing travel and take on new technologies to shape our
industry’s future. Our portfolio developments and innovations are
preparing the industry for the years ahead, delivering seamless
and touchless journeys, operational efficiency, resilience and
agility, sustainability, and more.”

SITA also saw record contracts and partnerships to
transform travel at airports and borders, through digital
identities, biometric and mobile-enabled self-service and digital
borders.

SITA e-boarding gate at DMK in Bangkok, Thailand. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Click to enlarge.

SITA e-boarding gate at DMK in Bangkok, Thailand. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com

Examples include biometric touchpoints for airline
passengers at Frankfurt Airport, a digital travel and
sustainability collaboration with the Arab Air Carriers
Organization, and continued world-leading trials in Aruba, using
ICAO’s Digital Travel Credential (DTC) standard.

In addition, SITA’s agreement with the Airports
Authority of India (AAI) will see the latest passenger processing
solutions and cloud-enablement for 44 airports in India, preparing
the country for a future of increasing growth in passenger
traffic.

With the return of travel comes the need to make
operations more efficient. The launch of new services for the SITA
Connect Go SD-WAN solution gives the industry the opportunity to
achieve this goal, as a platform for industry digitalization.
Qatar Airways and Biman Bangladesh Airlines became early
customers, using the solution to help fuel growth.

In another major trend, collaborative IT for
aircraft is helping to make flights more efficient and
sustainable, using AI and data-driven operational tools.

In 2023, a number of airlines – include Azul,
Singapore Airlines, AIX Connect, Vistara and more – took on SITA
OptiFlight to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by better
planning fight paths.

“We’ve significantly over-achieved the first year
goals of our business plan to grow SITA. As a result, we entered
2024 with a strong tailwind,” said Lavorel. “With 75 successful
years behind us, we’re looking to the future of travel. Our
mission is to prepare our customers to deliver the ultimate travel
and transport experience, with the most advanced, efficient, and
sustainable technologies.”

Continuing the focus on travel industry
operational efficiencies and sustainability, 2024 has seen the
launch of SITA Total Airport Optimizer, an AI-powered platform
designed to help airports manage every aspect of their operations.

Through a partnership with Univers, the solution
also brings sustainability into the heart of operational decision
making, helping airports to monitor and report energy usage,
emissions from aircraft and other vehicles, and their carbon
footprint.

The momentum in 2024 continued with SITA’s
acquisition of Materna IPS, a leader in passenger handling
solutions for airports and airlines, and Self Bag-Drop.

SITA followed that acquisition with the launch of
SmartSea through an agreement with Columbia Shipmanagement.

SmartSea will give the maritime industry access to
the same advanced technology that is transforming the air
transport industry, and comes at a time when SITA is looking at
even more expansion into cruise, rail and vertiports.

SITA also recently acquired ASISTIM, a company
renowned for its managed airline flight operations services,
paving the way for airlines of all sizes to outsource part of
their flight operations, through a fully-fledged airline flight
Operations Control Center (OCC) managed service.

“This is an exciting time for the travel
industry,” said Lavorel. “Major trends such as digitalization and
sustainability will uproot the way we work, forever. For 75 years
we’ve helped air transport step into the future. Now we’re
positioned to help the wider travel and transport industries to
create ever more frictionless journey experiences, achieve
operational efficiencies and resilience, and address
sustainability requirements.”

SITA – Interview with Sumesh Patel, President –
Asia Pacific

To learn more about some of the above investments
and trends within the Asia Pacific region, Steven Howard of Travel
News Asia sat down with Sumesh Patel, President of SITA Asia
Pacific.

In this interview, filmed over the internet on 8
July 2024, Steven asks about some of the recent acquisitions, what
they mean to SITA and whether there is scope for more in the
future.

We discuss seamless travel and what SITA’s vision
is for the future of travel, what role the company will play in
bringing air, rail and other ground transport together, and what
challenges SITA faces in doing so.

We discuss SITA’s recent partnership with
Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and Steven
asks what role Materna IPS’ acquisition will play and whether SITA
is looking to link up with other leading universities in the
region to trial innovative solutions that could eventually
transform the overall travel experience.

Sumesh tells us more about the results from the
most recent Baggage IT Insights report and explains why he
believes the Asia Pacific region is so far ahead of other regions
around the world and what challenges SITA faces in reducing the
rates further.

We also discuss biometrics and self-service
technology, with Sumesh sharing his thoughts on how far such
technology can go and whether there is still a need or want for a
genuine smile and human touch in travel any longer. All that and
much, much more in the video and podcast below.

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