The UK’s air traffic control body NATS and Saudi Air Navigation Services (SANS) have signed a contract to conduct a study on enhancing capacity at the King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 

Signed at the Dubai Air Show, the agreement forms part of Saudi Arabia’s growth plans as it intends to secure the expansion of air traffic through the country through major investments into its aviation infrastructure. 

Ahmed Alzahrani, chief strategy officer for SANS, said: “SANS is committed to transform the aviation landscape and guarantee that we are at the forefront of driving innovation to shape the aviation services of tomorrow. 

“This collaboration will leverage NATS expertise and digital solutions, to unlock new possibilities in airspace management and seamless flow of air traffic in the Kingdom.” 

NATS’ project will provide a benchmarked, data driven assessment on current operations to allow the airport to figure out how to safely expand its capacity as it seeks to deliver on the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 strategy which includes the target of tripling annual passenger traffic. 

The expansion of the King Khalid airport is just one of the projects underway in Saudi Arabia that are seeking to expand the country’s presence and power in the aviation industry, with the construction of the Red Sea International Airport and the launch of another flag carrier, Riyadh Air, also underway.

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Guy Adams, managing director of NATS Services, said: “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has ambitious plans for the future of its aviation industry. By collaborating with SANS, we can help deliver the safe and efficient capacity growth that the Kingdom is seeking. 

“We are delighted to be working together to deliver a project in Riyadh, and I am confident that our operational experience at some of the world’s busiest airports will prove invaluable.”