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  • Ahmed Saleh

National flag carrier partners with Red Sea Global and daa International

To fulfill the promise of Vision 2030, the national flag carrier teams up with Red Sea Global and daa International.

Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA), the country's flag carrier, and Red Sea Global (RSG), the multi-project developer behind the world's most ambitious regenerative tourism destinations "The Red Sea" and "Amaala," as well as daa International, the owner of Red Sea International (RSI) airport, have signed a memorandum of understanding. As a result, SAUDIA will be the first airline to fly into and out of RSI.

Along with the first three resorts, RSI is expected to debut at the Red Sea location this year. It will initially be accessible for internal flights to and from Riyadh and then Jeddah before becoming fully operational for international flights starting in 2024.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman, His Royal Highness, outlined a plan for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2016. John Pagano, Group CEO of Red Sea Global, described his company's objective as "a vision for a flourishing country, one that was recognized as a global hub, where people from all over the world would come to experience the best of Saudi culture, hospitality, and nature."

"Red Sea Global won't just feel a sense of pride when the first commercial flight lands at Red Sea International. Making that goal a reality will be a turning point for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. John Pagano, Group CEO of Red Sea Global, remarked that it is appropriate that the Kingdom's flag carrier, SAUDIA, will be the first to operate from our destination.

According to the agreement, SAUDIA will start offering regularly scheduled services to and from RSI. Additionally, it gives the three organizations a framework for conducting joint research on the use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and lower carbon aviation fuel (LCAF) at Red Sea International Airport. It will also be assessed whether electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) jets can minimize emissions from flights to the Red Sea.

The agreement signed today opens a new chapter in Saudi Arabia's aviation history, according to Capt. Ibrahim Koshy, CEO of SAUDIA. We are very proud of SAUDIA's role as the first airline to serve the Red Sea International Airport as one of the wings of Vision 2030, which is to enable the achievement of major project targets. By entering into this agreement, we will be in a stronger position to work with RSG and daa International to promote tourism and raise the nation's status in the world of international aviation.

The deal extends daa International's already-existing partnership with RSG, which runs its international airport. daai will keep running the airport and collaborate with SAUDIA on a variety of tasks, such as allocating counters and gates.

"Red Sea International is a new gateway for travelers to experience the wonders of Saudi Arabia," stated Mr. Nicholas Cole, CEO of daa International. We will collaborate with RSG and SAUDIA, bringing our outstanding airport management knowledge, to ensure that RSI offers a genuinely exceptional experience for all visitors.

This year, the first phase of the Red Sea International Airport and three Red Sea resorts will both open. Upon final completion in 2030, the destination would include 50 resorts, offering up to 8,000 hotel rooms and more than 1,000 residential units spanning 22 islands and six inland sites. An additional 13 hotels will open as part of phase one. Additionally, there will be upscale marinas, golf courses, entertainment, F&B, and recreational facilities at the site.

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