SATS enters Saudi Arabian cargo market

King Fahd International Airport
King Fahd International Airport

SATS has become the first international cargo handler to win the tender for a cargo handling licence to operate in Dammam, Saudi Arabia – at King Fahd International Airport (KFIA).

The tender is awarded subject to terms and conditions being agreed by both parties and it marks the first step by the General Authority of Civil Aviation of Saudi Arabia (GACA) to introduce a second player into the cargo handling market at KFIA and in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Granted to its subsidiary SATS Saudi Arabia, the cargo handling concession is valid for 22.5 years and SATS will build a new cargo terminal in the vicinity of KFIA and within the Kingdom’s new cargo village. Construction of the new facility is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2019.

The facility will be capable of handling 150,000 tonnes of cargo annually. It will also incorporate a dedicated cold chain facility to meet the growing needs of the pharmaceutical and food industries to ship high value, temperature-sensitive goods.

Saudi Arabia is a key aviation hub in the Middle East and is the second largest in terms of cargo throughput among the Gulf Cooperation Council member states. GACA, KFIA and SATS have formed a strategic tripartite partnership with the aim of elevating service standards and introducing new service offerings at Dammam to position KFIA as a key air cargo hub in the Eastern Province of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

King Fahd International Airport director general, Turki Al-Jawini says: “We believe this strategic partnership with SATS will further enhance KFIA’s position as a gateway for cargo in the Eastern of Saudi Arabia.

“The introduction of a second cargo terminal operator will result in enhanced services, options and increased air cargo capacity for the marketplace. KFIA looks forward to working together with SATS to grow cargo activity and services.”

Through its experience and expertise in operating cargo terminals in China, India, Indonesia, Oman, Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam, SATS will introduce high-end cargo handling standards and new technology to ensure an efficient and effective cargo terminal operation.

SATS president and chief executive officer, Alex Hungate says: “We have confidence in the future of the Saudi economy and in the continued growth of Dammam as the major industrial city in the Eastern Province. We look forward to working with our airline customers to connect KFIA into our growing network of cargo hubs across Asia and the Middle East.”

This investment leverages SATS’ core expertise in cargo handling, building out its presence across Asia and the Middle East. The investment also aligns with SATS’ vision of feeding and connecting Asia.