Aviation IT giant acquires Eland Technologies

5 Aug 2003

Global aviation IT firm SITA Information Computing has acquired Irish travel software firm Eland Technologies for an undisclosed sum.

Privately held Eland Technologies has been operating in the travel industry in Ireland since 1990 and employs more than 60 employees in Dublin and in Donegal. The company has offices in the US and UK. The firm has been enjoying average turnover growth of 38pc per annum over the last three years.

Eland’s technologies are used typically in mission-critical, high volume transactions by airlines, airline alliances, airports, ground handlers, web bookers, travel agencies, tour operators and other travel service providers. The company counts Lufthansa, Sabre, Star Alliance, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Navigant and American Airlines among its customers. The company’s Runway travel application integration platform is recognised as the most widely used middleware of its class in use in the travel industry.

Registered in Amsterdam, SITA is the world’s largest IT provider to the airlines industry and in 2002 recorded revenues of US$697m.

Under the deal Eland will become part of SITA’s Passenger and Travel Solutions’ business unit, which is the leading provider of web-based applications and e-commerce integration services for the travel and transport sector.

Eland director Robert Healy said in a conference call this afternoon: “We’ve had a long history with SITA, competing and co-operating on several accounts. Two years ago we tried to extend product portfolio by moving into call centre reservation systems. But when we came across SITA on a joint project with Air New Zealand we saw an obvious product fit, by combining products and having a bigger basket of goodies to offer customers.”

He continued: “Eland has largest airlines in the world as customers and it was clear that we could offer a bigger set of offerings to those customers. Even in these hard times for the travel industry we signed some big deals. However the deal solves a major problem we had being perceived as a small company by bigger companies we were trying to sell to. This is a very good deal for us to do as it enables us and our customers to put more IT budget into the projects they need to invest in, knowing that we will be backed up by a large workforce.”

According to SITA vice president Rickard Stokes, the acquisition enlarges the capabilities of SITA by adding highly skilled web technologists from a company with a 13-year track record of the design, development and deployment of high volume transaction software.

“At a time when all involved in travel and transportation are looking to web technologies to help reduce costs and increase business process efficiencies, SITA is extremely pleased to be adding specialised middleware products and integration skills to complement and expand our capabilities,” Stokes said.

SITA, he added, will support all of Eland’s existing customers and will add to the ongoing development of the Runway product set.

“This combination adds a wealth of expertise in delivering applications for reservations, bookings, customer service systems and in integrating these with call centres and mobile technologies – all of which are in high demand in the sectors SITA supports. I look forward to the success of the enlarged business in the years ahead,” said Stokes.

By John Kennedy