SITA, which supplies air transport communication and IT solutions, has reported consolidated revenues of $1,47-billion for the year 2008, up 3,5% on the previous year's figure of $1,42-billion.
Francesco Violante, SITA's CEO, says: "In the context of the worsening economic downturn, SITA performed well in 2008. Not only were overall revenues up at $1,472-billion but for the third year in a row we have won over $1-billion worth of new business.
"This is because IT and communications are now such an essential part of the daily operational life of the air transport industry and play a crucial role in managing costs and increasing productivity.
"A good example is e-ticketing. Last year the 75 airlines we support on our e-ticketing platform issued over 82 million e-tickets compared to just 10,6-million two years ago. This is a remarkable acceleration of a change that is saving the industry millions as online booking and paperless travel become more prevalent.
"We also saw a steep drop in lost baggage claims which went from 14,2-million in 2007 to 11,9-million last year. Again this is an enormous saving to the industry which is due not just to fewer items of checked baggage but also major improvements in baggage tracking and sorting enabled by both IATA's Baggage Improvement Programme and SITA technology."
Paul Coby, SITA's chairman and British Airways CIO and head of financial shared services, says: "Sixty years after it was founded in 1949 by the air transport community, SITA's business model continues to respond with remarkable resilience to both changing technology and to global economic storms.
"The way SITA combines competition and collaboration as an entirely commercially-run cooperative with 550 members allows us to remain very close to our customers. Our constitution means we can uniquely address the industry's common challenges on behalf of the entire air transport community.
"Even in these very difficult economic times, SITA has no debt, although we invested $79-million last year in product development for our customers, acquiring cargo system provider Softair, (through our subsidiary CHAMP Cargosystems), and the Australian border security company, CPS Systems. At our OnAir subsidiary we have also led the way in in-flight connectivity to allow the commercial launch of on-board mobile phone use.
"The industry can be proud that such an effective and innovative industry asset as SITA remains completely in the hands of our Community. Perhaps the SITA business model contains lessons for other industries in these difficult times?"
In 2008, the SITA management team achieved, or over achieved, on all their key performance indicators including: above target revenues of $1,472-billion; a pre-tax margin of $53-million; record new business of $1,184-billion; significant cost savings to SITA members, including price reductions of more than $50-million for network customers; and over 90% of customers were satisfied or very satisfied which was borne out by a customer renewal rate of almost 100%.