Air transport communications specialist SITA has doubled the speed that airlines can exchange the electronic data that is vital for the functioning of the air transport industry. This will allow SITA to manage the major peaks in traffic at airports worldwide smoothly this summer and in particular in July through September during the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

At Heathrow Airport, 80,000 extra passengers are expected to arrive over a fortnight with two peak days, and departures will be compressed into just three days. One of these will be the busiest day in Heathrow’s history, when it will have 45% more departures than on a normal day.

Electronic data exchange, commonly referred to in the air transport industry as SITA Messaging, underpins every aspect of operations with close to 100 million messages carried between airlines, airports, government regulators, suppliers and partners each day. Airlines transmit information regarding flights, passengers, crew, cargo and baggage and also exchange messages with various partners.

At Heathrow Airport, Omni Serv, the ground services provider that manages assistance for passengers with reduced mobility (PRM), is using SITA’s PRM data access services to feed the special service requests (SSRs) coming from more than 90 airlines to its performance management system. This ensures that all passengers with reduced mobility get the best attention at Heathrow.

This year, SITA invested significantly in its community messaging infrastructure ahead of the summer 2012 world sporting events. This was in response to the overall industry trend towards distributing more messages electronically, the changing requirements in information needs and the increasing number of companies joining the SITA messaging community.

With the new infrastructure, the speed of sending and delivering electronic messages has been doubled, enabling SITA to adapt seamlessly to its customers’ changing needs during peaks in traffic on an hourly, daily, seasonal or occasional basis.

Rukmini Glanard, SITA vice president, communications and infrastructure, said, "SITA is the community provider of messaging and we have more than 60 years of experience providing the most reliable and effective service. Our messaging is the glue that enables the whole industry to communicate and to operate effectively. Our recent investment has led to significant improvements in performance that have exceeded even our own expectations. Our capacity to receive messages has doubled and we can now send more than twice the number of messages per second as previously.

"With more than 2,400 industry players, from very small to very large companies, depending on SITA’s messaging for their everyday operations this is great news and we can be confident that the summer 2012 traffic surge will be handled smoothly."