January 11 2021  |  Airlines & Airports

Saudi’s new Red Sea Project airport to be managed by DAA International

By Wendy Morley

The new Red Sea Project airport, a work of art from above

According to Airports Council International (ACI), The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC), has named DAA International, the international business subsidiary of the operator of Ireland’s Dublin and Cork airports, as the operator of a new airport that will be the main gateway for The Red Sea Project — a major development on Saudi Arabia’s west coast to create a new luxury tourism destination.

The first phase of the project, scheduled for completion by the end of 2022, will include the new airport, up to 3,000 hotel rooms, recreational facilities and residential properties.

Construction on phase one of the development is already underway

DAA International will provide airfield and terminal operations, aviation services and facilities management in addition to overseeing commercial activities, as well as corporate and financial services. Daa International has operated Terminal 5 at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh since it opened in 2016.

“Our state-of-the-art airport will provide a unique gateway for guests arriving at our destination, and this announcement is an important step in bringing the experience to life, ahead of welcoming visitors by the end of 2022,” said TRSDC’s chief executive, John Pagano. “We selected DAA International because we are confident that they can deliver not only an airport experience worthy of our luxury destination, but for their commitment to ensuring our sustainability goals are met.”

The new airport will be a fundamental part of each passenger’s journey

Nick Cole, DAA International’s chief executive, noted: “The Red Sea Project is an amazing development and we are thrilled to be playing a major part in it by becoming the operator of the new airport. The Red Sea International Airport will become a fundamental part of each visitor’s journey to this unique destination, and we believe their holiday experience should start from the moment they land. We intend to deliver a seamless airport experience for passengers, underpinned by a commitment to achieving the development company’s stringent sustainability goals.”

Three stages

According to ACI, DAA International states that it will manage the operations of the airport during three separate stages:

Stage one will involve ensuring that all airport designs benefit the customer.

Stage two covers planning a full and seamless operational model for the airport when it opens to the public.

The airport, which will be powered by 100% renewable energy, is being designed by international architecture firm Foster + Partners. The design inspiration comes from the local landscape including the desert’s dunes, the green oasis and the sea

The final stage will be to manage and operate this plan, maintaining the highest standards in customer experience and sustainability, while prioritizing safety and security.

The airport will serve up to one million passengers per year, this limit based on the environmental carrying capacity of the new Red Sea development.

The aim is to provide a tranquil and memorable experience for passengers from the moment they arrive, with smaller, more intimate spaces that feel luxurious and personalised, bringing the feel of a private aircraft terminal to every passenger

Upon completion in 2030, The Red Sea Project will comprise 50 hotels, with approximately 8,000 hotel rooms and 1,300 residential properties. The destination will also include a luxury marina, entertainment and leisure facilities.

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