This sector exhibits Thales as a market leader in the fields of avionics and air traffic management systems, outlining the Group’s capacity to provide a comprehensive end-to-end response to the challenges of air transport. Petroleum-generated economic growth in the region has allowed regional airlines to expand at a rapid pace. As a result, aerospace-related sales have rocketed, leading to a sharp increase in the demand for Thales aerospace solutions.
In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Thales is a major supplier of Air Traffic control centres, radars, Navaids and Devortac equipment. Thales’ advanced Eurocat system is in service in Saudi Arabian General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) control centres.
In 2009, Thales and GACA signed a contract to develop its academy. The initial phase of the programme was to develop the Saudi Academy of Civil Aviation (SACA), a regional centre of excellence in civil aviation security training. Thales now organises the training of instructors in air traffic control, maintenance of civil aviation electronic systems, fire safety and airport security. Hundreds of students and trainees have been graduated and trained in SACA.
In 2014, Thales sealed contracts for the provision of navigation aids and air traffic control tower equipment for both the GACA and the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG).
Thales is also present on-board aircraft. In 2011, Thales was selected to provide its TopFlight SATCOM (TFS) to Saudia Airline’s B777s, having previously selected the Group for key surveillance products including surveillance processors and mode S transponders. Thales’ TopFlight SATCOM system consists of an ARINC 781 compliant Satellite Data Unit (SDU) and a configuration module (SCM), bringing a breakthrough in SATCOM size and performance. Housed in a single enclosure, the SDU makes it a cost-effective solution applicable to both regional, short and long haul aircraft.
In September 2012, Saudia chose Thales as a key partner for the airline’s long-term transformation project. Saudia signed an In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFEC) agreement to install the Thales TopSeries system on a total of fifty-four aircraft. Furthermore, in April 2014, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia selected the Thales TopCare service agreement for the maintenance of all its Thales IFEC systems. Thales will take 24/7 responsibility for all on-board maintenance and media content across three global hubs in New York, Paris and London. Thales hired Saudi engineers and technicians to undertake undertaking responsibilities within the Saudi IFEC programme.