Saudi Air Navigation Services (SANS) has entrusted Spanish technology company Indra with an ambitious project to implement a latest-generation air traffic system for the whole country and help multiply the number of flights it can manage.
The three-year project, which will culminate in 2020, is part of the Saudi Vision 2030 program aimed at diversifying the kingdom’s economy and turning tourism into a lever for growth.
Indra will be the key partner in the modernization of the air transport infrastructures and will help equip them to absorb more traffic and multiply the number of visitors the country can receive. The number of pilgrims alone who use SANS airports every year to visit Mecca and Medina is predicted to rise from eight million to 20 million following modernization of the air infrastructures.
To achieve this goal, Indra will upgrade the two control centers in Jeddah and Riyadh that manage en route flights for the country’s entire airspace, as well as the two approach control centers in Dammam and Abha that service the airports. Indra will also deploy its technology in the control towers of approximately 20 airports, including the four major international facilities at Jeddah, Riyadh, Abha and Dammam.
The automated air traffic management system that Indra will implement incorporates the most advanced technology on the market, far exceeding the requirements demanded by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
This technology will not only improve the positioning of SANS as a global hub and operations base for the world’s main airlines, but will enable it to address the demand for navigation services from aircraft that cross its airspace to cover the routes between Europe and Asia. Thanks to this increase in capacity SANS will see an upturn in its revenue.
Meanwhile, Indra’s strong position in the region as the main supplier of air traffic management systems represents a key advantage for SANS since its control centers will share the same technological base that Indra has implemented in countries like Oman, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. This will guarantee seamless interoperability between control centers and enable controllers to share data about a flight when they take over or pass on its management as it exits or enters the country. This fluidity will increase punctuality at airports and enhance the efficiency of air traffic management, as well as enabling aircraft to save fuel and respect the environment with cleaner flights.
All of this will translate into more revenue and fewer costs for SANS, which will offer higher levels of safety and the best possible service to airlines. Indra will complete its presence in the region with projects to implement radio navigation systems in Bahrain and Qatar.
Indra is also involved in the modernization of a large number of infrastructures throughout the Gulf region, and not just in the air traffic sector. For example, it has implemented the Da Vinci latest-generation system that will manage traffic on the Mecca-Medina 450 kilometer high-speed rail link currently under construction. The line will also be equipped with Indra’s safety, ticketing and telecommunications systems.
In addition, the company has undertaken major projects in the security field, is currently deploying the complete air defense system in Oman, has modernized energy plants, and is responsible for the implementation and operation in Bahrain of the first complete national health system in the Arabian Gulf, which is equipped with Indra’s primary healthcare solution comprising electronic medical records, radiology, a laboratory information system and electronic prescriptions.