The unique industry role of air transport communications and IT solutions provider, SITA, was strengthened with the decision of its members to reaffirm its cooperative-commercial business model by revitalising the co-operative, under the continued ownership of the air transport industry, and streamlining its board structure. The changes will bring long-term financial and commercial benefits to more than 500 members of the organisation that represent over 90% of airline business worldwide.
The changes to the organisation were proposed by the Board following an extensive strategic review of the company which included benchmarking governance structures and best practice against other successful commercial and co-operative global enterprises.
The review was led by Paul Coby, chair of SITA and a special board committee composed of nine board directors from around the world. A new governance structure, which streamlines the board structure to increase SITA’s agility and effectiveness, was also adopted. This involves moving to a single and smaller board from the previous two-tiered board; plus the creation of a new SITA Council. The new smaller board is in line with global best practice for boards of commercial and cooperatives.
The new SITA Council represents members and gives a stronger voice for members enabling them to influence the long-term direction of SITA even more effectively. The new SITA Council will actively represent the interests of SITA members and will ensure that SITA is the foremost IT and communications representative body for the air transport industry.
Paul Coby, chair of the board, SITA, said: “SITA is a success story, both as a business and as a unique business model. Since our last strategic review, SITA has seen consistently strong performance, even during the most turbulent economic times for our industry. Annual revenues have been around $1.45bn during this period with strong results and cost-savings being delivered to our members year after year.
“This most recent review indicates the value of the SITA group’s business model to the air transport industry – a ‘cooperative-commercial’ hybrid model operating ‘under one roof.’ It also endorses the need to preserve SITA’s unique attributes, associated with SITA’s cooperative and community philosophy within a company run with an efficient and agile mindset.”
Because it is owned by the air transport community, SITA is able to look after the long-term interests of the air transport industry. SITA invests in infrastructure, applications and service capabilities to serve the whole community. SITA also focuses on shared services with an emphasis on unit cost reductions for the benefit of the whole community. And SITA, unlike other providers, can and does offer services to airlines and airports almost everywhere in the world. SITA has helped build aviation in China, India, the Gulf and South America long before other providers were present.
Coby added: “It’s this unique community perspective, independent status and dedication to air transport that gives SITA a very special relationship with the industry. This has ensured SITA is highly responsive to the needs of our members and customers and delivers lasting and long-term value. The decision of the assembly to reinvigorate our model shows this.
“I, with the other SITA board members, am delighted that our members have agreed to strengthen the cooperative-commercial model under the industry’s ownership and to make these governance changes. This will create a stronger, more agile SITA, and provide a clear and pragmatic way forward for the company. It positions SITA for growth and enhances its value to its members, certificate holders and the wider community.”
The members, attending the annual general assembly in Brussels, voted for initiatives that will revitalise the SITA cooperative by expanding the membership base, reducing reliance on member funding, and allowing continued investment on behalf of the community to deliver benefits to all. There will also be an increase in the direct financial value to certificate holders, with the future introduction of dividend payments.
The changes came into effect immediately following the annual general assembly in Brussels. At the annual general assembly Paul Coby was elected chair of the SITA board and he was also was elected president of the SITA council.