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 June 26, 2000
Information Technology Must Be An Airline Boardroom Issue

 The Airline IT Strategy Summit, held by SITA and Airline Business June 23rd Brussels, Belgium.

The vital importance of information technology (IT) and e-commerce in the future of air transport was debated by 250 senior executives from the global air transport and IT industries at the 'Airline IT Strategy Summit', jointly hosted by SITA and Airline Business, in Brussels, Belgium on 23rd June.

Allan Winn, Publisher Reed Aerospace Group and summit Chairman, summarised the critical points raised by concluding with the following agenda for action:

· Bring IT into the boardroom ? ensure appropriate level of representation of CIO
· Create a corporate IT strategy ? link in all parts of the business and your partners
· Raise industry investment in IT ? aim for levels of at least 4% of revenue
· Work together on the fundamentals ? avoid duplication in B2B and B2C portals
· Remove unnecessary paper ? aim for industry wide e-ticketing

John Watson, Director General, SITA added: "It is essential that a common understanding and a shared vision exists between the CIO and the CEO as well as with all other senior executives ? together with a willingness to give priority to IT across the business strategy. There have been three major leaps in air transportation that have led to progress: the jet engine, deregulation, and now the Internet. It is essential that we nurture co-operation and work together as an industry to ensure that we cut costs and achieve sustainable levels of profitability in the future."

Kevin O'Toole, Editor, Airline Business commented: "IT has been treated for too long as a cost centre within airlines. We must spread the word that IT is a natural and integral part of our industry. With the current IT revolution, e-business is increasingly being recognized as a strategic boardroom issue, critical to the future success of the industry."

After a preview of the preliminary results of the IT trends survey the event continued with three panels:

Internet - Fundamentals vs Fashion:
David Quantrell, Nortel;
Andrew Light, Schroders Salomon Smith Barney;
Paul Shreve, Cisco.

Business Goals vs IT Realities:
Hugh Pride, Emirates/Mercator;
Timothy O'Neil-Dunne, VEO Travel;
Michael Malley, IBM

Selling IT To The Board:
Georges Schorderet, SAirgroup;
Chris Tarry, Commerzbank;
Graham Howarth, Cap Gemini Ernst Young