Neom Airlines to start operating by end of 2024

23 March 2023
The airline will start operating from Neom Bay airport and then Neom International airport

Neom Airlines plans to start operating at the end of next year from the existing Neom Bay airport before operating from Neom International airport.

“The airline will be operational at the end of 2024 and will be focused on enabling travel for tourists, residents and commercial partners to and from Neom,” said Klaus Goersch, CEO of Neom Airlines, in an article published on the official Neom website.

“In the first instance out of Neom Bay Airport, which is already open with Saudia flights domestically as well as to London and Dubai, and then from the Neom International airport later in the cycle.”

Goersch is a former chief operating officer of British Airways and Air Canada. 

Plans for Neom International airport are advancing. US firm Aecom confirmed on 22 March that it had been awarded a contract to provide project management consultancy (PMC) services for the new airport project.

The airport will be inland, close to the Tabuk end of the 170-kilometre-long Line development. Neom International airport is separate from the Neom Bay airport, which started receiving commercial flights in 2019.

Although not confirmed, it is understood that the first phase of the airport will have the capacity to handle 25 million passengers a year. A second phase could take the capacity up to 50 million passengers a year. There is an aspiration for the airport to become the largest in the world, with a capacity of 100 million passengers a year. 

“Organically, due to the strategic geographical location and the level of economic activity here, we expect that we will have a global aviation hub on our hands as time goes on – servicing the Middle East, Europe, America, Asia and so on,” Goersch said in his article.

Neom International airport and Neom Airlines are not the only major airport and airline launch plans in the kingdom.

In November, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud announced the masterplan for King Salman International airport in Riyadh. If completed on time in 2030, it will become the largest airport in the world in terms of passenger capacity.

The airport aims to accommodate up to 120 million passengers by 2030 and 185 million passengers by 2050. For cargo, the goal is to process 3.5 million tonnes a year by 2050.

Then in March, the crown prince launched Riyadh Air, a new airline wholly owned by the Saudi sovereign vehicle, the Public Investment Fund (PIF). Riyadh Air is expected to serve more than 100 destinations around the world by 2030, making use of the kingdom’s location between Asia, Africa and Europe.

MEED’s April 2023 special report on Saudi Arabia includes:

> ECONOMY: Riyadh steps up the Vision 2030 tempo
> CONSTRUCTION: Saudi construction project ramp-up accelerates
> UPSTREAM: Aramco slated to escalate upstream spending
> DOWNSTREAM: Petchems ambitions define Saudi downstream
> POWER: Saudi Arabia reinvigorates power sector
> WATER: Saudi water begins next growth phase
> BANKING: Saudi banks bid to keep ahead of the pack

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