In an industry that in “normal” situations faces new realities and constant challenges that need intelligent and updated technological solutions, the new reality that Covid-19 has brought is still in a determined evolution. After the Forum of airline leaders of Latin America and the Caribbean, we spoke with Maximiliano Vicini, Hitit’s Sales Representative for America to explore about the company and the sector during this new stage, reviewing the results of 2021 with a special focus in Latin America.
1- What is your conclusion after Hitit’s participation at the ALTA Leaders Forum?
Our participation was a huge success in all aspects, from brand exposure to highly effective networking with the audience. After two years of not attending airline industry events in the region due to the pandemic, we got back into the race, and it feels great! The ALTA Airline Leaders Forum is the “must attend” event for any player in the Americas airline market. This year, we made exciting contacts that will turn into new partnerships soon. In regards to Hitit’s corporate exposure, on this occasion, we were one of the main event sponsors hosting the ALTA Airline Members AGM, and we also gave a press conference for the media to talk about our One-Stop-Shop approach and plans for the Americas region. All the airlines’ representatives we met were very receptive and found Hitit’s value offer as a potential fit to support their operations, finances, and commercial strategies.
2- What messages did Hitit give at the event?
As one of the main event sponsors, we started on the first day with our opening speech at the ALTA Airline Members CEO’s AGM. On the second day, we gave a Press Conference to various aviation media companies and specialized airline industry journalists. The message was similar for both audiences, with a strong focus on our One-Stop-Shop Approach and how we can deliver our state of the art seamlessly integrated Crane Airline IT solutions suite to any type of airline in the Americas. Among the topics, we talked about are the challenges that many airlines face, especially in Latin America in terms of their digital transformation and post Covid-19 industry recovery. A key differential we believe is needed to achieve such goals is a flexible and independent sales capability supported by agile solutions to survive commercially, as well as providers who will stand by them in good times and bad, and will have the resources to answer their needs fast. At Hitit we have been doing this for the last 27 years, serving more than 45 airline customers in 5 continents.
Another significant message we shared at the event was about our distribution freedom and cost-reduction features, which are very relevant for the Americas region and the airline industry’s recovery path. Some of this distribution freedom features include Omnichannel distribution for flights, fare families, bundles, and ancillaries, Mobile, IBE, OTA, GDS, agent network and API integrations, direct connectivity to many major GDS with no messaging costs, Highest level of New Distribution Capability (NDC) functionality within the system, Unlimited partner integrations such as GDS, interline, codeshare, payment gateways, OTAs, TMCs and others.
In terms of cost reduction, we are able to deliver fair and transparent pricing with no hidden costs or pitfalls, quick to set up and easy to train for significant savings in both time and cost, robust direct-connect capabilities including GDS to minimize distribution costs and maximize revenue opportunities along with customizable smart automation, such as automated e-mail data exchange for DCS.
3- Which airlines showed interest in Hitit? Did you get any new business at the event?
I can say that we had very positive conversations and meetings with various airline executives attending the event and they showed interest in our PSS and the rest of our Crane Solutions. Some of these companies were looking to migrate from their existing PSS systems and others were looking to implement some of our stand-alone solutions integrated with their current PSS; like Operations Control (Crane OCC), Crew Management (Crane Crew), Schedule Planning (Crane SP), Travel Merchandising (Crane TM), Revenue & Cost Accounting, and Cargo. As a result of these great networking opportunities at the event, we have acquired many business leads that will hopefully become new Hitit airline partners in the short or midterm.
4- How was 2021 for Hitit?
2021 has been a year in which we have continued our 2020 successes. The increase in the importance of digitalization in aviation with this pandemic has once again revealed how vital an IT provider like Hitit is, one that can offer all options together. Despite the ongoing pandemic, since March 2020 Hitit has an additional 20 new airline partners from different regions of the world and in the Americas specifically, Hitit has become the preferred brand for IT systems for four airlines; Contour Airlines from the US, Bahamasair, Win Air from Saint Maarten, and Nella Airlines from Brazil. We have managed this process remotely, and Bahamasair, Winair, and Contour Airlines have successfully completed their remote migration processes and are continuing their operations. We recently signed a long term new partnership agreement with Ava Airways from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. There are other airlines where we are about to become their preferred IT partner, we cannot name them now, however you will have this news soon.
5- What successes did you achieve?
As a result of this upward trend that started in 2020, we have become the world’s 3rd largest IT provider in the field of PSS. We continue to grow, and we have achieved this growth all over the world. New airlines from Asia, Africa, and the Americas joined the Hitit family. Within a year, on a national and international basis, we were honoured with many awards, the Aviation Software Company of the Year, Aviation Technology Company of the Year, The Leading Travel IT Company in Turkey, and we were once again recognized in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Program.
Very recently, Hitit initiated legal proceedings for the IPO process in Turkey. We aim to grow even more as a listed company in 2022, accelerate our R&D activities with this growth, and contribute to airlines’ digitalization process even more.
6- What are your plans in the short and medium term in Latin America?
Hitit is a company that currently exists in 5 continents of the world. We have been in the Americas’ airline industry since 2015, a region we had always wanted to be in. We have an excellent business partnership with valuable partner airlines in the Americas. Our goal is to increase this number exponentially. We already have a representative in the region in Latin America. However, in parallel with the easing of the pandemic, we are planning to establish an office and institutionalize our presence there. In Latin America and the Caribbean region, which is one of the most important places for world tourism, we want the aviation industry to reach a much more advanced point in terms of technology. At Hitit, we aspire to achieve this mission. I am sure that with the inclusiveness of our solutions, affordable cost structure and one-stop-shop approach, the airlines in Latin America will find from Hitit the rapid digitalization they need after the pandemic.