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SITA to Provide Next-Gen Infrastructure for UATP's $12 Billion Payment System

By: via PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Jan. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- UATP (Universal Air Travel Plan), the low cost payment network, today announced the selection of SITA to provide a next-generation authorization and settlement infrastructure for its payment system, which annually processes transactions worth more than $12 billion.

The arrangement between SITA and UATP will cover the delivery of payment services including an authorization and settlement processing platform, as well as hosting and customer support services. The solution for UATP incorporates Horizon Payment Services, which is a key component of Horizon, SITA's next-generation passenger management system.

UATP's connectivity reaches over 95% of the world's airline passenger-carrying capacity and provides low-cost alternatives to expensive credit card and merchant service fees. Airlines can completely avoid credit card fees if their corporate clients purchase tickets on the airline that issued their UATP card.

Ralph Kaiser, UATP, President and CEO, said: "UATP is strategically growing its network encompassing hotel and car rental merchants and expanding our alternative forms of payment processing. Updating our infrastructure with SITA's cutting-edge technology allows for our planned expansion and improved efficiencies with new systems."

SITA's new technology will replace UATP's existing infrastructure, which has been in place since 2000 and was provided by multiple suppliers.  

Kaiser added: "For UATP there are significant benefits to dealing with a single supplier, and in particular with SITA, because this organization understands both the industry in which we operate, and complex payment systems. SITA is a unique partner; unlike any other it has a mandate, like UATP, to serve the airline community and to reduce costs wherever possible."

SITA has a 25 year history in travel payments including credit card authorization services that manage more than 24 million transactions per year from GDSs and airline reservations systems to all major credit card schemes.

Brian Cook, SITA Vice President, Passenger Solutions, said: "SITA's global trend surveys have shown the continued adoption of online booking and the growing importance of kiosk and mobile payments.  Airlines need an integrated payment infrastructure that is accessible from all touch points and routes transactions to the most appropriate payment channel.

"Our major investment in the Horizon passenger management solutions and our experience in the air travel payment business combined with our global IT and communications infrastructure will bring huge benefits to UATP and its customers. UATP's selection demonstrates that the market clearly sees the value that SITA brings to passenger processing."

SITA is using Authentic, the payment engine from Alaric, the SOA (service-oriented architecture)-oriented payment software provider, as a component of its next-generation payment infrastructure.

Over the past two years airlines from all parts of the globe tapped UATP's network and expertise to solve a myriad of distribution and payment-related challenges ranging from corporate travel charge programs, prepaid card solutions and government travel initiatives. UATP's unique ability to deliver solutions that enable airlines to grow their business while decreasing their cost of sale has led to a record number of carriers joining the Network.

Over 250 airlines and thousands of travel agencies accept UATP as a low-cost form of payment for air travel, service fees, management fees and net fares. Not only does this make UATP an impressive network for corporate clients who use it as their preferred form of payment but those entities that accept UATP save money because of low merchant service charges.

Notes to Editors:

About SITA

SITA is the world's leading specialist in air transport communications and IT solutions. SITA delivers and manages business solutions for airline, airport, GDS, government and other customers over the world's most extensive network, which forms the communications backbone of the global air transport industry.

SITA's portfolio includes managed global communications, infrastructure and outsourcing services, as well as services for airline commercial management and passenger operations, flight operations, aircraft operations and air-to-ground communications, airport management and operations, baggage operations, transportation security and border management, cargo operations and more.

With a customer service team of over 1,900 staff around the world, SITA invests significantly in achieving best-in-class customer service, providing integrated local and global support for both its communications and IT application services.

SITA has two main subsidiaries: OnAir, which is the leading provider of in-flight connectivity, and CHAMP Cargosystems, the world's only IT company dedicated solely to air cargo. SITA also operates two joint ventures providing services to the air transport community: Aviareto for aircraft asset management and CertiPath for secure electronic identity management.

SITA is one of the world's most international companies. Its global reach is based on local presence, with services for over 550 air transport industry members and 3,200 customers in over 200 countries and territories. Set up in 1949 with 11 member airlines, SITA today employs people of more than 140 nationalities, speaking over 70 different languages. SITA had consolidated revenues of over US$1.49 billion (euro 1.07 billion) in 2009.

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About UATP

UATP accounts are accepted as a form of payment for corporate business travel worldwide by airlines, travel agencies and Amtrak®. UATP accounts are issued by Air New Zealand (ANZFF.PK), American Airlines (NYSE: AMR), Austrian Airlines (AUALF.PK), China Eastern Airlines, Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL), Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL), El Al Israel Airlines Ltd., GOL Linhas aereas inteligentes S.A. (NYSE: GOL

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About Alaric

Headquartered in London and with international offices in the U.S., Malaysia and Australia, Alaric is a leading supplier of advanced technology payments based products and services. Alaric offers solutions for both SOA-based (service-oriented architecture) and conventional multi channel payments integration, card authorization, switching and routing, enterprise wide fraud detection and card fraud detection. Alaric's products are 100% written in Java and are fully platform independent and scalable to meet the needs of the largest institutions and processors.  Alaric is entirely focused on the payments industry and has a highly qualified team of payments and systems professionals which concentrates on designing and delivering sophisticated payment solutions based on Alaric's software products.

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