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Sanad and Thales to transform airport operations in MEA

The strategic collaboration marks a significant milestone, broadening the capabilities of both Sanad and Thales to serve the global airports supply chain.

Sanad, the global leader in aerospace engineering and leasing solutions wholly owned by Abu Dhabi’s sovereign investor Mubadala Investment Company PJSC, has entered into a strategic framework agreement with Thales. The agreement marks a significant milestone in the region’s aerospace sector as it expands Sanad’s Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) services into the dynamic fields of airport security, air traffic control, and digital operations.

The landmark agreement, signed during the Dubai Air Show, brings together Mansoor Janahi, Managing Director and Group CEO of Sanad, and Elias Merrawe, Vice President, Civil Business of Thales in the Middle East. This strategic alliance capitalises on the unique capabilities and expertise of both entities, aiming to elevate the maintenance and delivery of essential airport systems, ensuring the safe and effective operation of major travel hubs in the Middle East and Africa.

Building on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) inked in 2022, Sanad and Thales deepen their collaboration in the rapidly evolving realms of airport services. The expanded partnership now includes airport security and digital operations, with Thales leading the design and construction of critical systems. Simultaneously, Sanad will play a pivotal role in overseeing tasks such as maintenance, installation, rigorous testing, and commissioning activities for these cutting-edge systems.

Commenting on the deal, Mansoor Janahi, Managing Director and Group CEO of Sanad, said: “Our strategic alliance with Thales represents a significant milestone in Sanad’s journey. By collaborating with an industry leader, we contribute to sustaining efficient operations at some of the busiest airports in the Middle East and Africa. We aim to shape a more cohesive and collaborative aviation industry rooted in engineering excellence and technological innovation. Additionally, we are contributing to building local capacity and reinforcing Abu Dhabi’s position as a leading aviation hub by expanding our partnerships, capabilities, and geographic footprint.”

Elias Merrawe, Vice president, Civil Business of Thales in the Middle East, added: “Sanad’s outstanding global aerospace engineering and leasing solutions combined with Thales’ high technologies will create prosperous synergies in the field of airport operations and security. This strategic agreement will bring innovative technologies to the front and boost local industrial growth. As we look to build a future that we can all trust, innovation and knowledge exchange play a vital role in developing a sustainable aviation future.”

Sanad and Thales will collaborate closely to enhance air traffic management and advance airport operations in the Middle East and Africa by deploying innovative systems and MRO services.

Airports in the Middle East are projected to invest over $150bn in capacity expansion due to global air passenger demand, which is projected to increase more than two-fold by 2040. As a result of this expansion and the emergence of new airports, upgrades to meet future needs will be necessary, leading to increasing demand for airport security and air traffic management systems, as well as subsequent MRO services requirements. Additionally, domestic passenger air traffic in Africa is forecasted to more than quadruple in the next two decades, which will result in investments to modernise the continent’s aviation infrastructure and air traffic management, airports security along with safety systems.