GACA selects SITA for tech transformation at Saudi airports

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Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has selected global IT provider SITA to support the modernization of the country’s biggest airports, which will see the 26 airports and their communications transformed.

The new technology will improve the overall passenger experience and help airports in the country to cope with the surge in passenger numbers over the next few years. Passenger traffic across all Saudi airports climbed to 92 million in 2017, a 7.7% increase compared with the previous year.

GACA president HE Abdulhakim bin Muhammad Al-Tamimi said, “GACA has mapped out a clear future for Saudi airports, enabling us to meet our continued passenger growth while maintaining the world’s best airport facilities.

“We recognized that SITA was best suited to support this transformation. They have worked closely with us to implement our requirements for each airport and provide the right solution.”

As part of the technology upgrade, SITA is implementing its AirportConnect Open platform which allows airlines to work seamlessly at airports using common facilities while delivering a smooth self-service experience from check-in to boarding.

The platform provides future-proof infrastructure that will enable the implementation of solutions such as biometric single-token travel and common-use payment systems. It is also supported by the introduction of new wide area network (WAN) and local area network (LAN) connectivity across all airports.

In addition, SITA is providing GACA with a state-of-the-art baggage-management solution in line with industry standards, enabling GACA airports to meet the baggage-tracking requirements of IATA’s Resolution 753.

SITA’s Airport Management solution and Flight Information Display System are being deployed in Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport, providing real-time information to help GACA proactively manage its resources across the airport. The Airport Management solution is being rolled out in an additional 21 GACA airports before the end of the year.

SITA has also introduced Airport iValidate gates at King Abdulaziz International Airport and King Khalid International Airport. iValidate is a traveler document authentication system that enhances security and accelerates passenger processing by automatically verifying all types of boarding passes, including mobile boarding and home-printed passes.

Eng. Suleiman Al Bassam, vice president for information technology and telecommunications at GACA, said, “Our investment in new technology underpins the development of smart airport infrastructure across Saudi Arabia and is an important part in realizing GACA’s long-term strategy of improving the passenger experience across its airport network.

“It also supports the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030, which includes the development of our national airport and wider aviation infrastructure.”

Hani El-Assaad, SITA president, Middle East, India and Africa, commented, “Time and again we have seen how technology can transform an airport, improving the flow of passengers through the airport and therefore elevating the whole airport experience. Our solutions will help GACA reap the full benefit of the tremendous growth they have experienced across all Saudi Arabian airports in the past few years.”

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With over a decade of experience as a business and technology journalist working in B2B publishing, Hazel first joined UKi in 2011. After taking 18 months off to bring up her daughter and try her hand at marketing copywriting, she returned in January 2018 to do what she loves best – magazine editing! She is now the editor of UKi's Passenger Terminal World and Parcel and Postal Technology International magazines.

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