Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has selected IT provider SITA to support the modernisation of the country’s biggest airports, implementing a sweeping transformation of airport and communication technology across 26 airports.
The new technology is vital to improving the overall passenger experience while preparing the airports for an expected surge in traffic over the next few years. Passenger numbers across all Saudi airports climbed to 92-million in 2017, a 7.7 per cent increase compared with the previous year.
GACA president, 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 technology provides future-proof infrastructure which will enable the implementation of cutting-edge 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 will help airlines track and capture baggage data at check-in, loading onto the aircraft, transfer and on arrival.
At the same time, SITA’s ‘Airport Management’ solution and Flight Information Display System is being deployed in Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport, providing real-time information critical in helping GACA proactively manage their resources across the airport.
This will also empower the operations teams to plan for events before they happen, while ensuring that they have the right people and equipment in place at all times. It is being rolled out in an additional 21 GACA airports before the end of the year.
SITA has also introduced ‘Airport iValidate’ gates at Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport and Riyadh’s 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.
SITA president in the Middle East, India and Africa,Hani El-Assaad said: “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.”