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11 November 2009

Continental Airlines Achieves Common Use Passenger Processing Systems (CUPPS) Certification

SITA announced today that Continental Airlines is the first US airline to enter the modern era of passenger processing by achieving CUPPS certification following exhaustive testing at Orlando International Airport, 25 years after the world’s first ever common-use or shared check-in systems debuted in the US.

CUPPS technology will gradually replace the common use terminal equipment (CUTE) check-in and boarding standard, and will make a significant difference to airlines as it eliminates the need to develop separate applications to work with different platforms, thereby resulting in major cost savings.

The news of Continental’s certification comes as IATA prepares to officially release the CUPPS technical specifications later this month. In August, SITA became the first aviation IT specialist to be certified as a CUPPS Testing Entity (CTE) for airlines wishing to become early adopters of the breakthrough new industry standard.

Bill Miller, managing director of IT services at Continental Airlines, said: “Continental Airlines is proud to become the first US airline to be declared CUPPS-certified. We are very pleased to have reached this historic milestone with our partners SITA who provided the CUPPS platform, and Attachmate, our vendor of choice for terminal emulation and airline printing. Attachmate provide INFOConnect Print and Transaction Router Plus, which are now running successfully on the SITA platform.”

SITA took the technical lead on the development of the CUPPS technology over the last four years working in collaboration with other key industry players. Orlando, Continental, SITA and Attachmate are all participants in the International Air Transport Association (IATA) CUPPS Management Group. The development of CUPPS is an official IATA, Air Transport Association and Airports Council International-sanctioned process and is the first time that all three organizations have come together to mandate the development of a new standard for the industry.

Catherine Mayer, SITA’s Atlanta-based vice-president for airport solutions, said: “The development of CUPPS is a major milestone and we expect interest to grow rapidly once the technical specifications are officially released in mid-November. It is great to see an American carrier leading the charge for CUPPS as it was in the US that the industry first recognized the benefits of using shared common-use technology for checking in and boarding passengers.

“Over the last 25 years, common-use systems have been used to check-in and board over five billion passengers, saving the airlines some $3.5bn in operational efficiencies and avoiding untold millions in airport construction costs. There are over 300 airports worldwide using common-use today as they strive for more efficient use of their infrastructure, and many others should be following their example.”

As the first CUPPS application CTE, SITA is currently working with several airlines to test their applications to ensure CUPPS readiness.

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