Latin America Communications Report.

Airlines, airports and every aspect of the air transport industry today benefit directly from the telecommunications and information technology services provided to them by SITA. And indirectly, these benefits pass to every passenger who makes a reservation, boards a flight, and then flies safely and on time to his final destination.

SITA's story bears telling. Fifty years ago, a group of II competing international airlines took the unusual step of founding the Societe Internationale de Telecommunications Aeronautiques as a cooperative organization to help them share communications resources.

"Founded on the principles of cooperation, SITA has continued to work closely with the world's airlines and air transport industry for 50 years, providing innovative solutions to meet their business requirements," says John Watson, director general of SITA, which has its corporate headquarters in Geneva.

Today, SITA is the world's leading provider of global telecommunications and information solutions to the air transport industry, serving more than 650 customers in 220 countries and territories, over the world's largest, most advanced voice and data network.

SITA's customers include airlines, aerospace, airports, air freight, travel distribution and computer reservation systems and governmental organizations. Corporate revenues last year reached more than US$1.2 billion.

In Latin America, more than 40 airlines are SITA customers, and SITA has branched out to provide telecom and information services, maintenance and equipment to airports, air cargo operations and passenger reservations through GABRIEL, the largest multihost passengers reservation system in the world.

"We see ourselves as the IT provider for the air transport industry," says Marcelo Archila, Sales and Marketing Director for Latin America. "We are expanding our partnerships with our customers in Latin America by going into the provision of desktop-to-desktop solutions and outsourcing their domestic networks. Latin America is a place where we see many opportunities. The airline industry in Latin America has changed tremendously, and we are seen as their natural telecom partner."

SITA's services are especially appealing to airports in Latin America, where privatization is prompting moves toward modernization and more efficiency. Both in passenger applications and in flight operations, SITA's services allow airlines to benefit from using a universal system.

For example, when the new...

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