Saudi Air Navigation Services (SANS) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Aireon to begin analyses into the use of space-based automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) as an additional layer of security.
Aireon’s space-based ADS-B concept of operations is completely independent of traditional ground-based services.
SANS Board chairman Abdullah Alsuweilmy said: "Deploying space-based ADS-B is an opportunity to optimise air traffic flow, while reducing the current separation minima and providing significant airline benefits.
"Space-based ADS-B will also help us increase safety for all aviation stakeholders and the flying public."
With the use of the space-based ADS-B data, SANS expects to extend its capabilities for real-time air traffic surveillance throughout the entire region.
Deployment of the Aireon system will enable the availability of position data of aircraft equipped with ADS-B technology regardless of terrain below or ground infrastructure.
Aireon CEO Don Thoma said: “With Middle East air traffic growing at a significant pace, SANS is actively seeking new ways to improve safety and efficiency.
"Our operations and engineering teams will diligently work on a concept of operations that provides an analysis of the value and benefits that 100% surveillance can bring to their airspace. We look forward to deploying space-based ADS-B in Saudi airspace in the near future.”
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has projected in the 20-Year Air Passenger Forecast that the Middle East will see an additional 244 million passengers a year on routes to, from, and within the region by 2035.