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IMS EMEA Newsletter Issue 4 - January 2011

 

Addressing - no problem

 

Vol4-5Type B messaging makes the air transport world go round. And the first step towards using this universally useful capability is to obtain an IATA address - a unique seven-letter code that identifies your organisation whenever and wherever it is used within airline-related networks around the world.

The most usual way for a company to get into Type B messaging is to contract with a communications service provider like ARINC, which then applies for an address to the Air Transport Association (ATA) in the United States for a US customer or to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for everyone else. Both ARINC and its main competitor can do this for their customers. But by an accident of history
these codes are informally known as "SITA" addresses, and this has given rise to misunderstanding in certain parts of the world.

"There is a widespread belief in many markets - Russia, Eastern Europe, parts of the Middle East and Africa - that SITA is the only officially acceptable source for a new Type B messaging address," says Laura Petrozziello, aviation solutions sales and business manager for ARINC in EMEA. "We have even had existing customers in those regions try to cancel their contracts with us because they thought they had to do so to comply with national regulations."

She continues: "Though we succeeded in the end, it proved quite difficult to dissuade them. We had to do a lot of work to explain that there was an underlying international standard from IATA, that we complied with it in every way, and that they had a free choice between two suppliers to meet their Type B requirements."

Petrozziello's task is not made easier by the fact that sometimes the misconceptions are written down in black and white. "When Russian organisations, for instance, translate documents relating to this topic, they tend to use 'SITA' when what they really mean is ‘IATA' or 'Type B,'" she says. "We hear this in customer feedback all the time."

The ARINC Type B messaging customer base continues to grow across the globe in response to the emergence of demand in the different regions as air transport infrastructure develops. "Africa is the coming continent," says Petrozziello, "and we are significantly increasing our efforts there. But it's the same old story: SITA is seen as the default, and when companies require messaging they don't look any further."

Fortunately, Petrozziello and her team have a trump card up their sleeves in the form of ARINC's IP compatible network. "Potential customers sometimes give us a list of locations they need to reach with their messages," she says. "Can we deliver to Saudi Arabia, to Ghana, to Thailand? We can always say yes, because as long as there's an Internet connection available to the customer, we can deliver. We are not tied to a legacy network to which the customer must be physically attached. We don't work that way - users can connect to ARINC and deliver their Type B messages around the world via the Internet as well."

As the air transport infrastructure continues its rapid advance in places like Russia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, demand for the common currency of communications - IATA Type B messaging - is rising steeply. "We want all these new entrants to understand that they have a genuine choice of provider," says Petrozziello. "What's more, at ARINC we have an infrastructure that is exceptionally flexible and capable of going wherever the Internet goes.”

 

 

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