oneworld European airlines to use SITA aircom services

02 February 2011

European members of oneworld®, the leading quality global airline alliance - British Airways, Iberia, Finnair and Malév Hungarian Airlines - today announced the selection of SITA to provide voice and data services across their combined fleet of more than 450 aircraft, including the VHF data link mandated by European Union's Single Sky regulations for air traffic control (ATC) communications.

The five-year agreement, which follows a joint evaluation by the four airline partners, will take them past the EU deadline of February 2015, which requires all aircraft flying in Europe, and all EU Air Navigation Service providers, to be equipped to use ATC data link. This ATC usage will add a new dimension to the airlines' existing use of the SITA data link services for their own internal communications.

In addition to the SITA VHF data services, the airlines will be able to use satellite services including Inmarsat Classic, Swift Broadband and Iridium, for operational and passenger use.

British Airways, Iberia and Malév have renewed their existing SITA VHF Data Link services. Finnair will be switching VHF and satellite communications to SITA while Iberia will also switch to SITA for its satellite communications.

Iberia's Finance and Control Director José María Fariza, speaking on behalf of all four oneworld European airlines, said: "While working on this agreement, we, and the other European members of oneworld, sought to leverage our alliance partnership to get the best cost/benefit balance for our aircraft communications requirements. With SITA we have achieved an arrangement that ensures we will have the services we need to optimize our businesses.  SITA's ability to understand our commercial needs while guaranteeing the service quality we need for ATC communications both now and in the future made SITA the best choice."

Philip Clinch, Vice President Aircraft Solutions, SITA, said: "SITA has been working on the ICAO ATN and VDL services mandated by the EU regulation for 20 years. These contracts with the oneworld member airlines are among the first to stretch into the period when all that work will be rewarded by seeing aircraft use data link to increase airspace capacity and reduce delays. SITA's selection by British Airways, Iberia, Finnair and Malev shows the value of our close work with the air traffic control community."

SITA's network of VHF ground stations has developed steadily since 1984, and currently includes more than 1.200 stations in more than 160 countries. As the air transport communications specialist, SITA facilitates the exchange of more than one million ACARS messages per day and supports over 200 contracted customer airlines with more than 11.500 individual aircraft in routine airline operation.

Together British Airways, Finnair, Iberia and Malév, carry more than 70 million passengers and serve more than 200 destinations worldwide.

About oneworld

oneworld brings together some of the best and biggest names in the airline business - American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN, Malév Hungarian Airlines, Mexicana, Qantas, Royal Jordanian and S7 Airlines, and around 20 affiliates including American Eagle, Dragonair, LAN Argentina, LAN Ecuador and LAN Peru.  airberlin and India's Kingfisher Airlines are both members elect.  Between them, these airlines:

  • Serve almost 900 airports in nearly 150 countries, with some 9.500 daily departures.
  • Offer more than 550 airport lounges for premium customers.
  • Carry 340 million passengers a year.
  • Operate a combined fleet of almost 2.500 aircraft.
  • Generate around US$90 billion annual revenues in total.

oneworld enables its members to offer their customers more services and benefits than any airline can provide on its own.  These include a broader route network, opportunities to earn and redeem frequent flyer miles and points across the combined oneworld network and more airport lounges.   oneworld also offers more alliance fares than any of its competitors. 

oneworld is current holder of three of the four leading international awards for airline alliances - named the Best Airline Alliance by Global Traveler in its GT Tested Reader Survey 2010 Awards, World's Best Alliance in the 2010 World Airline Awards and the World's Leading Airline Alliance in the 2010 World Travel Awards, retaining that title for the eighth year running.

About British Airways

British Airways is one of the world's leading international airlines.  It carries more than 30 million passengers a year to some 165 destinations in 75 countries worldwide on a fleet of around 250 aircraft.

About Finnair

Finnair is one of the world's oldest airlines, established in 1923. Its operations focus on transporting passengers between Europe and Asia, via Helsinki. The modern Finnair fleet comprises more than 60 aircraft, carrying more than 7 million passengers a year.

About Iberia

Iberia is the leading airline between Europe and Latin America.  Worldwide, it serves some 110 destinations in 45 countries with a fleet of around 120 aircraft, carrying 25 million passengers a year.

About Malév Hungarian Airlines

Malév Hungarian Airlines, the national flag carrier of the Republic of Hungary, can look back on more than 60 years of outstanding achievements and service. Today, it is one of the leading scheduled airlines in Central and Eastern Europe.  It carries more than three million passengers a year on a fleet of 22 new Boeing 737s.

About SITA

SITA is the world's leading specialist in air transport communications and IT solutions. SITA delivers and manages business solutions for airline, airport, GDS, government and other customers over the world's most extensive network, which forms the communications backbone of the global air transport industry.

SITA's portfolio includes managed global communications, infrastructure and outsourcing services, as well as services for airline commercial management and passenger operations, flight operations, aircraft operations and air-to-ground communications, airport management and operations, baggage operations, transportation security and border management, cargo operations and more.

With a customer service team of over 1.900 staff around the world, SITA invests significantly in achieving best-in-class customer service, providing integrated local and global support for both its communications and IT application services.

SITA has two main subsidiaries: OnAir, which is the leading provider of in-flight connectivity, and CHAMP Cargosystems, the world's only IT company dedicated solely to air cargo. SITA also operates two joint ventures providing services to the air transport community: Aviareto for aircraft asset management and CertiPath for secure electronic identity management.

SITA is one of the world's most international companies. Its global reach is based on local presence, with services for over 550 air transport industry members and 3.200 customers in over 200 countries and territories. Set up in 1949 with 11 member airlines, SITA today employs people of more than 140 nationalities, speaking over 70 different languages. SITA had consolidated revenues of over US$1.49 billion (€1,07 billion) in 2009.