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Airlines operating direct flights to Russia expect disruptions as airline IT giant SITA gets ready to leave Russian market

Source: Meduza

Airlines operating direct flights between Russia and other countries will likely run into turbulence come fall.

The Russian airline industry, largely dependent on the IT products developed by the Swiss corporation SITA (Societe Internationale de Telecommunication Aeronautiqes) for booking, flight messaging, baggage tracking, and other industry-specific applications, is bracing itself for disruptions when SITA leaves the Russian market this fall.

The company, whose website boasts that “almost every airline and airport in the world is a SITA customer,” announced its plans to withdraw from Russia in May 2023.

The independent news outlet RBC writes that Russian flight operators are alarmed by the prospect of being disconnected from SITA’s services, on which the global airline industry runs. Aviation insiders feel that the problem is “highly sensitive and definitely requires a solution.”

Russia’s Transportation Ministry has told RBC that it’s aware of the problem and plans to set up “alternative messaging channels” between the Russian carriers and SITA’s global IT system. “The question has been resolved with most of the countries where international flights go,” the ministry’s press-service said, “and talks are in progress with aviation authorities in other countries.”

The Russian IT company ORS stands ready to benefit from the global competitor’s departure from Russia. Its CEO Alexander Sizintsev doesn’t see a problem with replacing SITA’s products with Russian software. The passengers, the IT executive assures, will not be affected by the change.

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