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SITA unveils new airport digital ID, sustainability partner program ‘Launchpad’

SITA unveils new airport digital ID, sustainability partner program ‘Launchpad’

Aviation digital identity provider SITA has unveiled a new partnership program to foster collaboration in four key areas. Called Launchpad, the program will focus on digital identities, advanced analytics and data management, security and safety at airports, and sustainable alternative energy sources.

“We are committed to enabling the growth of the air transport industry through smart technology and solutions,” says SITA CEO David Lavorel, commenting on the news.

A company announcement says each of these areas represents a changing aspect of air travel today, and SITA has already worked in innovation and development in all of them.

“We continuously seek smarter ways to use existing and new technologies to ensure a more sustainable and resilient future,” reads the Launchpad page on SITA’s website.

“Multiple opportunities exist to co-create and explore ways to tackle today’s industry challenges.”

The company also said the new partner program aims at meeting the demands caused by a variety of factors impacting the aviation industry over the past two years, including surging fuel prices and volatility.

“We have looked carefully at the market and identified key areas where we can have a significant impact and help our customers work smarter,” Lavorel explained.

According to the executive, SITA’s strong investment and innovation program can support these areas that are central to the growth of the company.

“To accelerate this program, we are inviting new partners working in these four areas to join us so we can reshape the air travel industry together,” Lavorel concludes.

The company has set up a form for firms to register their interest in collaborating on projects such as digital ID within aviation.

The new partner program comes a couple of months after SITA signed a $400 million three-year-plus revolving credit line linked to the company’s environmental sustainability performance.

More recently, SITA unveiled new digital visa and electronic travel authorization systems and started building a check-in infrastructure at three of Canada’s major airports.

US airports under pressure to adopt biometrics: SITA report

In an eventful week for SITA, the company also published a new report earlier today.

The document claims U.S. airports are under mounting pressure to adopt a biometric exit solution to help U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) in achieving its objective of screening 97 percent of existing passengers at all commercial airports within the next few years.

“The mandate for U.S. Entry/Exit was established following recommendations by the 9/11 Commission,” reads the report.

“Entry and the introduction of dedicated Federal Inspection Services (FIS) facilities were easily achieved. However, implementing a solution for U.S. Exit has proven more difficult.”

In fact, the new data suggests in the U.S., international air traffic is less than 20 percent of all flights operated and closer to 5 percent in the early stages of pandemic recovery.

“Most U.S. airports were built more than 40 years ago, well before security-based screening was considered.”

According to SITA, the success of the CBP’s Traveler Verification Service (created in collaboration with JetBlue in 2017) and the later partnership between SITA and NEC have pushed the adoption of biometrics for screening much further, but the technology needs to be fully understood if it is to be embraced at a wider scale.

“For airports to fully embrace this change and benefit from biometrics, it’s critical to understand the importance of standards, interoperability, and integration with existing infrastructure and processes,” SITA writes.

“As airports consider their strategy to support CBP’s Biometric Exit program, they must also consider how the selected solution best fits the airport’s customer experience objectives and long-term operations strategy.”

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