October 4, 2023
Aviation Lifestyle Travel

Saudia will be the first carrier to operate at Red Sea International Airport

Airport set to open later this year for domestic flights

Saudia, the flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, will become the first airline to operate at the Red Sea International Airport (RSI).

This follows the signing of an agreement in Riyadh City on September 12, 2023, between Red Sea Global (RSG), the multi-project developer of The Red Sea and Amaala tourism destinations, Saudia, and daa International, the operator of RSI airport.

The agreement will see Saudia begin regular scheduled services to and from RSI airport.

The agreement also provides a framework for the three organisations to undertake joint research on using Lower Carbon Aviation Fuel (LCAF) and Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) at RSI airport.

eVTOL study

The use of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft to reduce emissions from air travel to The Red Sea destination will also be evaluated.

The airport will initially open later this year for domestic flights to and from Riyadh and later Jeddah before opening to international aviation in 2024.

John Pagano, Group CEO of Red Sea Global, said: “In 2016, His Royal Highness, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, set a vision for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. An idea for a thriving country recognised as a global hub where people worldwide would experience the best of Saudi culture, hospitality, and nature.

Aerial view of the Red Sea International Airport (RSI). Image: Saudia
Aerial view of the Red Sea International Airport (RSI). Image: Saudia

“When the first commercial flight lands at Red Sea International, it will not just be a point of personal pride for Red Sea Global. It will be a milestone moment for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in making that vision a reality. It is fitting, therefore, that the Kingdom’s flag carrier, Saudi, will be first to operate from our destination,” Pagano added.

New beginning

Captain Ibrahim Koshy, CEO of Saudia, said: “Today’s agreement marks a new chapter in Saudi Arabia’s aviation history. As wings of Vision 2030, Saudia’s contribution is to be an enabler in attaining giga project targets, and our involvement as the first airline to operate from and to Red Sea International airport is a source of pride for us all.”

The agreement expands on daa International’s existing relationship with RSG as the operator of its international airport.

daai International will continue to manage the airport and work with Saudia on various activities, such as allocating airport gates and counters.

Nicholas Cole, CEO of daa International, said: “Red Sea International is a new gateway for travellers to experience the wonders of Saudi Arabia.

“Bringing our unmatched airport management expertise, we will work with RSG and Saudia to ensure RSI delivers a truly unique experience for all who pass through it.”

Featured image: Officials in Riyadh City on September 12, 2023, following the signing of the tripartite agreement. Image: Saudia

Arnold Pinto

Arnold Pinto

Arnold Pinto is an award-winning digital-first journalist with wide-ranging Middle East and Asia experience in the tech, space, aerospace, aviation, defence, luxury watchmaking, business, fashion, and automotive verticals. He is passionate about conserving endangered native wildlife globally and protecting the world’s oceans from plastic pollution, overfishing, and climate change. Arnold enjoys 4x4 off-roading and camping.
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