SITA aims to sell to smaller airports

New channel partners will be appointed in a bid to reach airports servicing fewer than 5 million passengers

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By  Robeel Haq Published  March 5, 2006

SITA has announced plans to offer its range of IT solutions to small and medium sized airports around the world. The company believes the market, which consists of over 1000 airports, could result in US $2 billion work of indirect channel sales over the next five years. “The number of people travelling through small and medium sized airports is increasing,” said Umar Khan, vice president, indirect channels, SITA. “This means that airports are facing increasing pressure to simplify travel and improve the passenger experience by upgrading the IT solutions being offered to customers.” SITA has already gained a strong presence in large airports around the world. It is now seeking a global network of partners to resell its product portfolio, including AirportConnect CUTE, AirportConnect Kiosk, BagManager and BagMessage, to small and medium sized airports. “SITA is looking for channel partners with a strong local presence in their country of operations and the ability to address the needs of airports in that country,” said Khan. “There are a variety of factors to consider when selecting partners. The companies should have the sales and marketing skills to win airport business in the marketplace and, most importantly, they should be willing to do business with SITA and promote our products and services in the market.” Any company wishing to qualify as indirect channel partners must complete a certification programme, which SITA has outsourced to the American computer-based testing business Pearson VUE. Once the partner is certified, it will deal directly with airports, offering local expertise and providing onsite support and maintenance. SITA plans to provide its partners with ongoing training, remote support, market intelligence and also work alongside them to help build up competencies. SITA has already announced Turkish aviation operations and airport construction company, TAV, as its first partner. TAV will be certified as an exclusive reseller of SITA’s CUTE, BagManager and BagMessage products in Turkey. “We have signed TAV as the first channel partner and they will initially address the Turkey and Northern Cyprus market,” said Khan. “TAV is an excellent example of the type of partner we are looking for at national and regional level across the globe. They have a deep understanding and commitment to air transport in Turkey and we are looking forward to providing the training and building the competencies necessary for TAV staff to work successfully with our products.” SITA is currently holding discussions with potential partners in the Middle East region and expects to sign a company in the region shortly. SITA defines small and medium sized airports as those with annual passenger volume of below five million people. In the Middle East, the company believes sales to such airports could be worth US $240-300 million over five years. “Our objective is to have partners that are closer to the market and have the geographic presence to cover the airports. The Middle East is a big region; therefore, our aim is to sign several partners to serve this region. We expect to sign a partner in the region within the next few months,” said Khan.

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