TOP LEVEL DOMAIN APPLICATION
Submission to ICANN
29th September, 2000
Sponsoring Organization's Proposal
I. SPONSORING ORGANIZATION STRUCTURE
C1. Please submit a comprehensive description of the structure and nature of the sponsoring organization and the manner in which that organization will conduct its operations, including policy-formulation activities. We strongly recommend retaining professional legal assistance to aid in the formulation of your Sponsoring Organization's Proposal and accompanying documents.
SITA SC, the Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques ("SITA") has since its incorporation as a co-operative association in 1949 been the organization which the Air Transport Community has relied on for networking, communication infrastructure and information technology. It is an association that limits its membership to companies whose primary business is related to the air transport industry. It seeks as its primary objective "to foster all telecommunications and information processing…required in the operation of the air transport industry…with the aim of promoting in all countries safe and regular air transport;" (Articles of Association Art. 3).
As such it is ideally placed to sponsor the application for a new Top Level Domain Name (TLD) ".air". The Air Transport Community is one that will benefit from the creation of such a TLD to foster and develop the remarkable growth and availability of air transport at affordable prices. SITA as the established industry focus point for technology and communications, is the clear choice to establish and launch ".air" quickly and effectively. SITA is already involved at all levels of the community since it is owned by the entire segment of air transport, including airlines, airports, aerospace manufacturers, air freight and other air transport related companies and organizations.
SITA proposes that the ".air" TLD be managed through a combination of its existing co-operative committees and working groups, under the guidance of the Board of Directors, with the addition of a high level industry policy group, the Air Name Policy Group (ANPG), to define the policies on matters relevant to the development and operation of the ‘.air" TLD name. It is proposed that this group be made up of senior members of the Air Transport Community, and of major industry organizations, i.e. IATA (International Air Transport Organization), ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization), ACI (Airports Council International), etc. The ANPG will be supported by expert advisory groups with particular skills and experience in the area of domain name systems. It will be responsible for overseeing the stability of the ".air" domain and to ensure that it is used to the benefit of the Air Transport Community and all travelers.
".air" Registry Model
To add the new TLD ".air" to cyberspace and to establish the TLD in an rapid and cost-efficient manner, SITA will ask that SITA INC, its commercial subsidiary provides registry services, on the strict understanding that this be for a limited period of three years, at which stage registry services will be put to competitive tender.
C2. Organization Information. Principal location, legal status of the organization, laws under which it is organized, type of organization (for profit, non-profit, corporation, association, etc.
SITA is a co-operative association, owned and operated by and on behalf of the Air Transport Community. It was incorporated in Belgium on the 23rd of February 1949. For over 50 years it has been providing network, communication and related IT based application services for its members on a not-for-profit basis, and in accordance with its Objects, set out at Article 3 of the Articles of Association. The Articles are Appendix C1. As at 31 December 1999 it had 718 members, and now has over 725. Its members include all the major and regional airlines in the world, air freight, airports, aerospace industry manufacturers, air traffic authorities, Computer Reservations Systems (CRS) and other air transport related organizations. SITA serves the community irrespective of the size of its members, and has largely contributed to expand the telecommunications infrastructure in the less developed countries, so that all members benefit from its solutions on equal footing. A short history of SITA is Appendix C2.
SITA’s registered office is in Belgium. The principal executive office is in Geneva Switzerland, with major regional offices located in Atlanta, Rio de Janeiro, London, Rome, Sydney, Johannesburg, Beirut, Tokyo and Singapore. It has offices and representatives in more than 200 countries around the world.
The SITA website is http://www.sita.int.
C3. Organization Structure. Size of organization, number of officers, directors and advisors, roles/duties of directors and officers and other staff, supporting and/or contributing organizations, affiliates, membership.
SITA is now a large organization, with more that 6,000 employees. This is necessary to ensure that the world’s largest network and a growing number of information technology applications are developed and maintained with a level of reliability appropriate to the needs of the modern air transport industry.
As with all large organizations the management structure is subject to continual modification and improvement. SITA is no exception to that. In summary, the Association has a Director General, currently Mr. John Watson, who has reporting to him all of the corporate support functions and three major operational divisions. An organization chart showing the various divisions and reporting lines is Appendix C3.
The organization has two unusual aspects. First, the air transport community is large, dynamic, global and has interests that span from those of large computerized reservation systems that serve airlines and their travel agents around the world at one end to small regional airlines with limited needs at the other. Furthermore, the aviation industry has been using global network based communication systems for many years and is mature. The challenge for the association in that context is to provide a meaningful and representative governance structure. As can be seen from the Articles of Association (Appendix C1), this is addressed in two ways. Shares in the association are allocated annually, based on percentage of use (Articles, Chapter II). Secondly, the board has 30 members, 20 of which are senior officers, usually chief information officer, of its largest members, and 10 of whom are representatives of the remaining members. Furthermore, representative board members are selected from both airline and non-airline members, ensuring that all interests are represented (Articles Chapter IV). This structure provides flexibility, stability and a spread of expertise, experience and regional knowledge, mixed with addressing the interests of both large and small users. It is also neutral. A list of SITA Board members is Appendix C4.
Secondly, as a co-operative body, SITA has a clear mandate to ensure that all members of the Air Transport Community have access to its full range of information technology and communications services, including the world’s largest communication network, for their day-to-day operations at the lowest possible cost and the highest level of service (Article 3(d)). At the same time, it is aware that there are a number of services and facilities that SITA is well placed to provide that are of interest only to a sub-set of its members, and these will be provided according to the needs of each.
Recently, SITA INC (Information, Networking and Consulting) BV has been incorporated according to the laws of The Netherlands to address commercial opportunities within the Air Transport Community other than the operation of the network. Again, the purpose is for the association to find ways to serve the Air Transport Community equitably, whilst capitalizing on its expertise and industry knowledge.
SITA INC has been asked to provide, on commercial terms, and subject to commercial contract, registry services, with a clear understanding that after a fixed period of three (3) years, this business will be put to competitive tender.
SITA is an active player in a large number of industry forums and organizations. For instance, it sits as an Industry Associate to IATA. It is a Sector Member of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and participates on working groups addressing matters concerning aviation. A short description of the links that SITA enjoys with the Air Transport Community is Appendix C5.
SITA is also at the forefront of promoting discussion and innovation on the subject of air transport and electronic communications within the air Transport Community. A sample of the type of industry forums that SITA sponsors is Appendix C6.
SITA has also played an active role in developments in the Domain Name Space area. SITA participated from the outset in the enhancement and enlargement of the DNS process. For example, it was one of the first signatories of the Generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) MoU (7 August 1997), the precursor to the ICANN of today. Moreover, SITA participated in the Council of Registrars (CORE) and supported ICANN during the domain name privatization process.
SITA is currently a member of the Executive Committee of CORE and of the Business Constituency of ICANN. Rosa Delgado, SITA Director Internet Industry Relations, is also a member of the Internet Society (ISOC) Board of Trustees.
C4. Organization Purpose. Functions and mission of the organization, definition of community to be served (if any), method of ensuring operation in the interest of the stakeholders of the community to be served and the Internet at large.
As can be seen from the Articles of Association, the mission of SITA is clear, and it is long standing. SITA must serve the Air Transport Community. The Articles also set out the formal method (discussed above) whereby the Air Transport Community is involved in SITA. This includes the role of all the members acting through the General Assembly of SITA, meeting at least annually.
In addition to the formal involvement of the Air Transport Community in the ownership and governance of SITA, there are a number of committees and user groups within SITA that ensure that all of SITA’s members are involved in the processes and operation of the organization. The Terms of Reference of those committees are provided in Appendix C7.
In addition, SITA is committed to establishing and maintaining a high level policy group (the ANPG) to define the best manner to ensure that the ".air" TLD is optimized for the benefit of the Air Transport Community and the traveling public. At the same time, this policy group will ensure that this domain is reliable, stable and accessible to all users within the Air Transport Community. This group will be comprised of senior representatives of the Air Transport Community and will meet regularly. In turn, this group will take advice on technical issues from groups of industry experts.
C5. Appropriateness of Community. If the organization is intended to serve or represent a particular community, define the community and explain why that definition fits the TLD proposal.
The Air Transport Community is the driving force behind the travel and tourism industry, the fastest growing sector and largest employer in the world today. It encompasses all of those companies and organizations that make up aviation, including airlines and airports, as well the regulators of the industry, the civil aviation organizations, working together at an intergovernmental level in ICAO. It comprises the aerospace industry, including the major manufacturers, and other suppliers to the industry. Among these are the computer reservation systems linking airlines and other suppliers with the travel agents that have direct contact with the consumers.
Interaction between each of these companies - airlines, manufacturers and airports, etc. - is extremely complex. They have to address a number of often competing concerns daily, and have the lives of others to consider as a primary issue at all times. It is a community that requires stability, secure and reliable access to information and certainty in locating that information. There is and will continue to be a need for considerable sharing of information from a steady platform. The need for consistent standards and common delivery platforms will be just as great for Internet based systems.
An example may illustrate this point. A passenger travelling on a journey involving more than one airline, or even a change of aircraft, will require consistent and accurate information to be accessible to check-in, baggage, catering, aircraft loading, refueling, flight planning and customer service staff. In a normal journey, this may involve staff of at least three different companies. There is a need for all of these groups to access information. The Internet will increasingly be the platform from which this information is accessed, subject to there being consistency and reliability in its display, and security in its storage. A domain for the Air Transport Community will give the industry the basis from which to work co-operatively, as it has done in the past, to develop new generation systems.
C6. Representation. Manner in which the organization will represent and take input from community to be served, the categories of stakeholder to be included in the organization.
The manner in which the Air Transport Community is directly involved in the governance and organisation of SITA has been addressed above. The Articles of Association also establish that membership of SITA is limited to the Air Transport Community and gives final discretion to the Board of Directors as to who may become a member. In so far as we are aware, there has never been a dispute arising from the decisions of the Board of Directors in relation to membership.
As also mentioned above, (Appendix C7) SITA has a number of committees and user groups that ensure that the members are actively involved in the operations of SITA. This is appropriate for an industry owned association such as SITA.
In addition, to ensure that appropriate focus in given to the issue of the ".air" domain name and its stable management, SITA is proposing that the high level industry policy group, the ANPG, be established to oversee all aspects of the ".air" domain name. This policy group will only be as good as its members, and calls for participation have been extended to representatives of IATA, ICAO and ACI. Other appropriate representatives of the Air Transport Community will be invited to join the ANPG in the near future. Groups of experts both in the area of air transport on the Internet industry will support the ANPG.
C7. Openness and Transparency. Measures taken to promote openness and transparency, access to information, web site use, public posting of information, meeting minutes, notice and comment provisions.
As befits an organization that has been owned and controlled by its members for more than 50 years, SITA has developed a very high level of openness and transparency for its members, with annual assemblies, regular meetings of specialized committees, and regular information including annual financial and activity reports. The most recent annual activity report and annual accounts are Appendixes C8 and C9.
For more than 50 years, SITA has been reporting to its members about its operations and processes on a regular basis and there is a keen interest in ensuring that it is done to the satisfaction of all concerned. Updated information about the activities of the company is available on http://www.sita.int.
C8. Initial Directors and Staff. The identity and qualifications of the initial directors and staff.
Please see Appendixes C3 and C4 referred to above.
The high-level policy group will have secretariat support provided by Ms Rosa Delgado.
C9. Selection of Directors, Officers, Members, Staff, etc. Eligibility, method of selection, term of service, compensation, liability, conflicts of interest, resignation, removal, vacancies.
The selection, eligibility, term, resignation, removal and vacancies of Directors is addressed in the Articles of Association.
For other officers and staff, SITA as an organization of 6,000 people has a finely developed human resource function. Considerable emphasis is placed on ensuring that the best possible people are selected for employment.
Membership of the industry working groups is driven by the members. Each member sends to meetings of the relevant working groups those people who in their opinion can add the most value. This is a very inclusive way of ensuring widespread representation and support.
C10. Policy-Making Procedure. Provide a detailed description of the process for formulating policies for the TLD, including a detailed description of the requirements for adoption of different types of policy.
The basis of the policy making process is to ensure industry wide consistency and reliability, working with the industry standard setting procedures (such as through ITU, IATA and ICAO). These may vary from time to time with those of other industry sectors but are clear and understood in the Air Transport Community. These procedures also have anti-trust law clearance in a number of jurisdictions and a previously agreed process for obtaining such clearance in many others, including the United States. To ensure wide-spread community participation, this process will be used for the TLD as well.
The agreed policy making process will be under the control of the ANPG, the high level policy group representing all major sectors of the Air Transport Community. The ANPG will define the policy to be applied by the registry in full consultation with the representative bodies of the interested Air Transport Community sectors referred to above. The ANPG can also consult with its expert groups. All decisions of policy must be with the aim of ensuring industry wide utility, consistency and reliability.
In order to ensure that there is rapid uptake of the .air TLD, registrar services will be allocated, in the short term, to those industry associations that can show that they represent a sector of the community, and can verify that applicants meet previously agreed membership criteria. For instance, IATA may be able to distribute registration to international airlines. This will provide for a level of competition at the registrar level, as there are a number of associations with overlapping memberships. For instance, many airlines belong both to IATA and to regional associations such as ATA (Air Transport Association of America). Government owned and controlled airports (the majority) may be members of ACI whilst their owners sit on ICAO.
In the longer term other registrars are envisioned, to ensure that the .air TLD is widely distributed.
C11. Meetings and Communication. Frequency of meetings, location of meetings, provisions for telephone meetings, other methods of communication, generation of minutes for meetings.
As one would expect of an organization that has enjoyed the confidence of its members for more than 50 years, SITA has in place a very extensive procedure for meetings, and reporting the outcome of such meetings. This includes provision for telephone and video conferencing and so on. The association also pays particular attention to ensuring that it is communicating with its members. This is the case with the arrangements already in place for all of the working level groups referred to above.
The system also ensures that working groups have appropriate review and oversight. As it is envisioned that the current working level and expert groups continue, there is no reason to assume that this will not remain to be the case.
At this stage it is envisioned that the high level policy group would meet as required, and not less than quarterly to oversee the process. The Board of Directors of SITA also meets quarterly.
Generally, meetings are held at SITA offices or other convenient locations, and are, as far as possible, distributed around the globe to minimise inconvenience for members. Again, that will not change.
C12. Fiscal Information. Initial budget, expenses, existing capital, sources of revenue, accounting, audit, annual report and annual statement.
Please refer to the Annual Accounts for the year 1999 (Appendix C9).
SITA considers the stability of a domain for the Air Transport Community to be of such a priority that it is prepared to allocate whatever is considered appropriate to ensure that the various committees and high level policy group are organized effectively and properly. It should be noted that the organizational platform and infrastructure are in place.
C13. Liability. Liability of the organization, directors, officers, and staff.
As appropriate for a long-standing professional association, SITA has in place a comprehensive risk management program, covering all aspects of the association’s activities. This includes coverage for Directors and Officers liability as well as public and commercial and product liability.
A certificate of insurance for SITA's comprehensive and commercial liability insurance, to a limit of USD 10 million, is attached in Appendix C10.
C14. Amendment of Articles of Incorporation or Bylaws. Procedures for making amendments to the articles of incorporation, bylaws, and other organizational documents.
Article 42 of the Articles of Association (Appendix C1) provides that the General Assembly can amend the Articles of Association (other than the Objects) by simple majority. Article 44 provides that 4/5 of the members, including 4/5 of the airline members must consent to a proposed amendment to the Objects.
As can be seen from the attached Articles, these have been changed on a number of occasions, as necessary. These are fully documented and filed with the Belgian authorities.
C15. Reconsideration and Review. Any policy for allowing reconsideration and review of organization policy or implementation decisions.
SITA’s policy in relation to this area is simple. No decision is exempt from reconsideration if it can be shown that there is a better way or better outcome possible. These are not empty words. They are part of the values that the Association adheres to. For instance, please refer to the Activity Report for 1999 (Appendix C8).
II. PROPOSED EXTENT OF POLICY-FORMULATION AUTHORITY
C16. List and describe in detail the areas over which a delegation of policy-formulation authority is sought. For each area in which policy authority is sought, please address:
Delegation is sought for the TLD .air, for and on behalf of the Air Transport Community. Specifically, SITA is seeking a delegation on the entry to and operational aspects of the naming structure of the TLD.
C16.1. Scope of authority sought;
The ANPG intends formulating policies concerning the operation of the ".air" name only. In that context, there will be no interference with the fields of competence of ICANN. The authority sought is to limit participants in the .air TLD to genuine members of the Air Transport Community as defined by commonly accepted criteria used in the community.
Secondly, to ensure that the industry systems work in a fully integrated manner, SITA seeks authority to register second and third level domain names.
C16.2. Reasons/justifications for seeking authority;
The requirement to limit membership and use of the TLD has a safety aspect at its core. The safety of its passengers is the defining key to the Air Transport Community. That is only possible with a stable and secure platform allowing access and communication with confidence.
To provide a seamless service to its customers, the Air Transport Community co-operates continuously in the areas of Information Technology and communications. The need for integration of air transport information technology systems (airlines, airports, aerospace manufacturers, air traffic control, etc.) requires the definition of processes that are mandatory to all participants. In that context, a measure of consistency for naming platforms will be required. Given this co-operation and specialist technical requirements, SITA and its Air Transport Community partners are the appropriate organizations to be delegated this authority.
C16.3. Method of guaranteeing that your organization will administer the policy in the interest of the Internet at large;
SITA is a neutral organization owned by the Air Transport Community. It acknowledges that all of the community has alternative suppliers of TLDs. Stabilizing and distributing access to a domain for the Air Transport Community will establish a basis for innovation and competition as to applications offered to the public and in products to make air transport more efficient. This will be guaranteed by oversight of a high level policy group that will ensure neutrality and widespread distribution, as well as provide a channel for reporting any instability or deterioration. At the same time the industry working groups will be monitoring and contributing to the next generation of Internet based products and solutions.
C16.4. Whether variation from existing ICANN policies is intended at the opening of the new TLD.
No variation from the existing ICANN policies is intended.
III. CONTRACT TERMS WITH REGISTRY OPERATOR
C17. Identification of Registry Operator. Please list the full legal name, principal address, telephone and fax numbers, and e-mail address of the registry operator:
Details from registry application
SITA Information Networking Computing BV - SITA INC
Heathrowstraat (Sloterdjik), 1043Ch Amsterdam
Telephone: +31 (20) 606 91 00
Fax: +31 (20) 606 97 00
C18. Contract with Registry Operator. Please attach one of the following:
C18.1. a copy of your contract with the selected registry operator for provision of registry services;
C18.2. proposed terms for a contract (i.e. at least a detailed term sheet) with a registry operator for provision of registry services, proof of commitment from the registry operator for provision of services under those proposed terms, and a notation of the estimated date of entry into the contract; or
C18.3. a statement that the sponsoring organization will also serve as the registry operator for the proposed TLD. (In this case, the sponsoring organization must prepare and submit the Registry Operator's Proposal in addition to the Sponsoring Organization's Proposal.)
SITA INC is a wholly owned subsidiary of SITA SC. SITA INC will be providing registry services for the .air TLD. As mentioned above, the provision of the services will be on a commercial basis. Please refer to the Registry Operator's proposal.
By signing this proposal, the undersigned attests, on behalf of the applicant(s), that the information contained in this application, and all supporting documents included with this application, are true and accurate to the best of applicant's knowledge.
JOHN O. WATSON
Name (please print)
Name of Applicant Entity
September 29, 2000
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Updated August 15, 2000