Kuwait signs multi-million dollar contract with SITA


Brussels (SITA)  - SITA, the world’s leading provider of IT solutions for border management, today announced its largest contract to date for its unique Advance Passenger Processing (APP) solution estimated at $37 million.

The contract is a five-year agreement with the Kuwait government and the actual total contract value is based on the Kuwait International Airport passengers’ traffic over the said period.

SITA CEO Francesco Violante, speaking today at SITA’s AGA (Annual General Assembly) in Brussels, said: “The introduction of APP in Kuwait together with its earlier introduction in Bahrain, now makes the Gulf region a global leader in terms of using innovative technology to increase security and to eliminate delays for passengers at airports and border crossings.”

SITA’s APP solution fully complies with IATA standards and the most stringent privacy laws. Once fully operational, it will eliminate unnecessary flight delays and enhance air transport security by allowing instant checking of basic passenger data against watch lists and visa lists maintained by the Kuwaiti government. Passengers will be cleared to board within seconds while at the check-in counter.

An interim system will be deployed by August at Kuwait International Airport for arrival, departure and transit passengers. The airport was used by 5.8 million passengers in 2005.

In effect, APP uses the SITA communications network to push the basic biographical data available on a passenger’s passport to a Kuwait Ministry of Interior watch list and passport/visa data base.  In many cases this process is fully automated via the use of machine readable passports.

A message returns automatically to the airline check-in counter indicating whether the passenger is allowed to board or not.  Airlines also welcome this innovation as it generally results in a sharp reduction in fines and liabilities for transporting passengers without appropriate authorization or documentation.

SITA can also provide the capability to filter out any sensitive personal data, as identified by the EU or other jurisdictions which would infringe on an individual passenger’s right to privacy.

Zuhair Al-Zamel, Deputy Director General, the Kuwaiti Directorate General of Civil Aviation, said: “We are pleased to partner with SITA on simplifying passenger travel by removing a possible cause of delays for the millions of people who fly in and out of Kuwait International Airport each year.  Our forecast for passenger growth is 8% this year which made it critical for us to address this issue using the very latest technology.”

Thomas Marten, SITA Vice President for Government and Security, said, “In adopting SITA’s APP technology, Kuwait has joined the ranks of countries using the most innovative solutions for border management and passenger facilitation, also known as interactive APIS or Advance Passenger Information Systems.  Other countries currently using APP technology include Bahrain, Australia and New Zealand.

“The USA and UK have both announced they will migrate their existing legacy border management solutions to the next generation interactive solution in the coming year.  As national governments and the Air Transport Industry seek to address steady growth in passenger volumes while ensuring the safety of the travelling public in a cost effective manner, SITA’s border management solutions are being piloted or are under active consideration by a growing number of countries in the EU, South America, Africa, and Asia,” he said.

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