Another year has passed… 2021 was a year when we saw how valuable it was to return to some norms. With the acceleration of the vaccination, we gradually began to return from our isolated private and work lives. I think, like many of you, my travel to different countries and continents was on hold for about a year and a half. However, since returning to and participating in physical interactions, I had the opportunity to reunite with many colleagues from our industry. IATA AGM, a classic meeting for the aviation industry, was held in Boston, ERA Membership Conference in London, and World Aviation Festival in Singapore were all felt like a reunion. As a technology company, we quickly adapted to the digital world and had great accomplishments. Despite our digital successes, when meeting again with industry friends we were reminded how important and valuable sharing time together is both individually and professionally.
So, what did we do in 2021 and how has 2021 affected us? Due to the ongoing pandemic, 2021 has been a transition year that has prepared us for the post-pandemic period by demonstrating that remote and physical activities can be combined. For this reason, 2021, which we can define as a year of transition in one aspect and a year of preparation in another, has also been a year of recovery for the aviation industry. Even though airlines and airports, which are the cornerstones of our industry and are the contact points of passengers, are not completely recovered, they have been in better shape than in 2020. Despite these ongoing challenging conditions, in 2021 Hitit continued uninterruptedly its growth trend from 2020. Every time I mention this success, I feel very proud. As a result of the efforts of the Hitit team, we have managed to increase the number of our partners by 40% since the beginning of the pandemic. This portfolio growth was accompanied by geographic expansion and our technology is now being used in 45 different countries.
A strong combination of word-of-mouth and our technology
Here I want to zoom in a little. When we look at the geographical distribution, we see that our gains have been in Latin America and Africa. Once again, the word-of-mouth recommendations, the increase in our achievements and our reputation in Africa, as well as Hitits' features such as customer satisfaction, working closely with partners, and acting with a real team spirit are among the most critical factors that have expanded our partner network in Africa.
The reasons for our expansion in Latin America are that we are one of the IT providers that offer the most agile and most advantageous solutions for digital transformation, made essential by the pandemic conditions. It is our ability to serve airlines with different business models, the fact that we provide solutions in a one-stop-shop model, and our systems can provide additional services in a very flexible way, are features that offer serious advantages to Hitits' cost-oriented and innovation-seeking airlines, helping them be ready for competition for this pandemic period and beyond. In brief, we brought together the dynamism needed by the Latin American market.
Passengers of the pandemic era
Passengers of the pandemic era want to take care of and protect the health of their families and the community. They have new travel expectations, in particular with the constant changing restrictions and obligations. This new passenger prototype prioritizes hygiene and abides by the rules and expects instant and accurate information from airline companies. It has therefore become critical for passengers to have the technological flexibility and instant notification from the airline they choose. In such an environment, the rapid deployment of government regulations as well as IATA's certifications and the Travel Pass, which bring the industry together on common ground, has eased the pain for our partners.
In addition to these accomplishments, we were happy to be recognized with awards. At the BlueSky Award ceremony, we won the "Aviation Software Company of the Year" and "Aviation Technology Company of the Year" awards, and we were placed first as Turkey's tourism technology company at the Bilisim 500 Awards.
In 2021, despite the ongoing pandemic, it was a year in which the sector started a rapid recovery, by analyzing the needs and requirements. Airlines, airports, IT providers, regulators, and passengers worked as a team and did not allow the ongoing pandemic to affect aviation. We foresee that 2022 will be much more positive than the year we left behind.
Looking forward to seeing you in Istanbul
As I mentioned at the beginning of my article, it is expected that the global mobility that started after the second half of 2021 will continue in 2022. Another significant development in 2022 will undoubtedly be the increasing number of business trips and events. No matter how diversified the opportunities offered by technology made our lives easier, it is both valuable and enjoyable to have one-to-one physical contact with your business environment and connections, which have been missed deeply. To this end, we have already started working on reorganizing the Partners Event in 2022, which was on hold for two years due to the pandemic.
We look forward to welcoming you to our city in the spring, the season of fascinating judas trees, the symbol of Istanbul.
Wishing you a very joyful and prosperous 2022! Happy New Year!