Our Business Partners play a critical role in our success and growth. This time we interviewed our business partner for Tunisia, Mr Belhakim Ben Halima on himself, his role, how he represents ADB SAFEGATE in his country and on Tunisia itself.

Tell us a little bit about your company – Ittec Systems
Ittec Synstems has been an agent of ADB SAFEGATE since long, startig with ex Safegate in 1996. We have been representing the lights portfolio (Thorn at first) and the docking systems in the Tunisian market and extended our offering as ADB SAFEGATE expanded. From a supplier, it has evolved into a full integrator and services company employing 15 people. The airport business represents about 70 % of Ittec’s business, and depending on the contracts offered, airports can benefit from a 24/7 service. The service offering allows the company to not only create a wider offering towards Tunisian airports and make them more loyal, but also to stabilize Ittec’s revenues as airport refurbishment or greenfield development projects are not as frequent.

What’s the Tunisian market like?
Tunisia is more than a tourist destination. It’s also an important provider of a wide range of trading goods and services. This is why the Ministry of Transportation has created a long-term plan for the airports in Tunisia.

Aviation is key to growth which is the main reason why so much investment is going to the airport industry. Focus lies on automation or solutions like LED lighting that allow for as little maintenance and technical interventions as possible (and all related works like installation is mostly shifted to the suppliers). Besides that, only proven technology will be used which explains that only products that are certified and have a proven quality (amongst other through references and test reports) will be selected. While every airport is financially autonomous, the Ministry and the civil aviation authorities determine the tender rules to ensure consistency throughout the country and a uniform approach.

What about competition?
Competition, especially in the airfield ground lighting domain, is high with Ocem, ATG and Youyang being the most omnipresent brands.
Ocem mostly loses on price and on non-adherence to tender requirements. It illustrates the importance of a good representative. ATG is mostly considered too expensive while Youyang hasn’t certified all their products, we think they are rather testing the market before moving in full force into Tunisia and the rest of Africa.

What trends are shaping the market?
The future looks bright, not only economically – Tunisia saw over eight million tourists in 2018, but also on the political side, it is and has been a stable democratic country for some time, and this is backed fully by the citizens. Democracy is best illustrated in the extensive freedom of speech (quite unique in the region) but also the economic growth shows that the country is on the right track. On the business side, we see big potential in apron projects, automation in the tower and continued emphasis on end-to-end integration from the ILS all the way up to the gate.

While we have experience in the integration aspects, there is still some way to go to make it happen. A good integration approach leads to more productivity with lesser people required or people being used for other tasks than on the airfield and at the gate. We see also a big growth potential for affordable solar lighting – energy savings in a country that imports oil is critical. Most airports and heliports including the military that are located in the Sahara region need solutions that don’t make them rely too much on the electricity provision.

What does the future hold for aviation?
We expect a series of airport projects with the new airport in Tunis being the biggest one. It will be constructed 30 kilometers out of Tunis. Current projects include Gafsa (a military airport now becoming a commercial one) with AGL and signs, Djerba where we see potential for AGL, signs and apron solutions, and a long list of ongoing modifications at several other airports.

ADB SAFEGATE is a leading provider of intelligent solutions that deliver superior airport performance and operations, and jointly identify and solve bottlenecks. Our consultative approach enables airports to improve efficiency, enhance safety and environmental sustainability, as well as reduce operational costs. Our portfolio includes solutions and services that harmonize airport performance, tackling every aspect of traffic handling and guidance, from approach, runway and taxiway lighting, to tower-based traffic control systems and intelligent gate and docking automation. ADB SAFEGATE has 1,000+ employees in more than 20 countries and serves some 2,500+ airports.

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