SITA’s Unique Community Model Returns $60 Million after a Difficult Year for the Air Transport Industry

SITA, the specialist provider of communications and IT solutions to the world’s air transport industry, today reported consolidated revenues of $1.49 billion for the year 2009. This is within 1% of the previous year’s figures and has allowed SITA to return more than $60m in cash and price reductions to its member owners.

Francesco Violante, SITA’s chief executive officer, said, “In what was a turbulent year for the air transport industry, our achievement of $1.49 billion revenue is significant and is in line with our customer satisfaction levels which reached a record 97.6% last year compared to 91.2% in 2008. We also had a contract renewal rate of almost 100%.

“At the end of 2009 we were able deliver significant returns to our member shareholders including a %17.5m reimbursement of pre-payments for services, a continuation of network price reductions of $29 million and the handing back of an over-recovery of US$13.8m.”

In a period of extreme credit pressure, SITA has a strong cash position. The company has no bank debt and is self-funded. In 2009, it generated US$133.7m of cash from its operations and has continued to reduce its financial dependence on member funding.

Paul Coby, SITA board chair and CIO British Airways, said, “SITA has been transformed over the last four years into a strong industry partner with an absolute focus on our customers’ needs and challenges in a tough business environment. I have little doubt that SITA’s unique community model, whereby our customers are also our shareholders and make up the Board, has greatly helped us weather the storm.

“SITA’s success in 2009 has given the board and management the confidence to maintain investments levels in areas of key strategic importance for the industry including a new passenger management system and in-flight communications through OnAir, our joint venture with Airbus. This year our total research and development budget will be over $100 million and we continue to fund the SITA Lab centre of excellence.”

Other key developments at SITA include building global wireless aggregated services, as part of the new generation communications platform for airports. This pioneering initiative is a new community service that will radically transform wireless communications for airports around the world.

Foundations for the company’s future growth were cemented in 2009 with the renewal of SITA’s strategic relationship with communications services partner, Orange business services for the next seven years, enabling SITA to deliver leading-edge communications services for more than 1,800 customers in over 220 countries and territories.

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