Travel Industry News at TravelNewsAsia.com since 1997
Mon, 8 July 2024

SITA Reports Record Results; Future of Air Travel - Interview with Sumesh Patel, President of SITA Asia Pacific

(09/07/24)  SITA recently reported record results for 2023, with revenues reaching almost US$ 1.5 billion, an increase of 7% on 2022, and signs that the company is heading towards a similar 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 Reports Record Results; Future of Air Travel - Podcast and Video Interview with Sumesh Patel, President of SITA 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.

PODCAST

Latest exclusive video interviewsSITA Reports Record Results; Future of Air Travel - Podcast and Video Interview with Sumesh Patel, President of SITA Asia Pacific; Miss International Queen 2024 (MIQ 2024) - Interview with Alisa Phanthusak, MD, Tiffany's Show Pattaya, Thailand; 16 HD Video Interviews from Routes Europe 2024 in Aarhus, Denmark; 9 HD Video Interviews from Routes Asia 2024 in Langkawi, Malaysia; Standard to Open Residences in Hua Hin and Phuket, Thailand; Video Interview with Amar Lalvani, Executive Chairman; 9 Exclusive Video Interviews from ASEAN Tourism Forum 2024 in Vientiane, Laos; 8 NTO Press Conferences from ASEAN Tourism Forum 2024 in Vientiane, Laos; 13 HD Video Interviews from World Travel Market 2023 in London, England; 5 HD Video Interviews from APG World Connect 2023 in Monaco, France; and 15 HD Video Interviews from Routes World 2023 in Istanbul, Türkiye.



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