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Ireland’s daa international to manage Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea airport


Saudi Arabia’s planned new Red Sea airport is to be managed by daa international, the international business subsidiary of the operator of Ireland’s Dublin and Cork airports.

The Red Sea Project is a major development being built over 28,000 square kilometres on Saudi Arabia’s west coast to create a new luxury tourism destination.

The first phase of the project, including the new international airport, is due to be completed by the end of next year.

The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC), which is the developer behind the new tourism destination, has named daa International as the operator of the new airport, which will be the main gateway for the development.

Daa International, which has a successful track record in Saudi Arabia having operated Terminal 5 at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh since it opened in 2016, will provide airfield and terminal operations, aviation services and facilities management.

In addition it will also oversee commercial activities, as well as corporate and financial services.

“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.”

While 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.”

According to daa International, 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 final stage will be to manage and operate this plan, maintaining the highest standards in customer experience and sustainability, while prioritising safety and security.

If all goes to plan, the new Red Sea International Airport will serve up to one million passengers annually by the project’s completion in 2030, with a peak capacity of 900 passengers per hour.

Visitor numbers will be limited to one million, based on the environmental carrying capacity of the new Red Sea development.

The airport will be powered by 100% renewable energy.

The airport is being designed by international architecture firm Foster + Partners, which has taken its inspiration from the local landscape.

The new airport’s terminal building has been inspired by the forms of the desert, the green oasis, and the sea, and aims to provide a tranquil and memorable experience for passengers from the moment they arrive.

According to its designers, its roof shells are inspired by the desert dunes and will provide natural shade to passengers in both landside and airside areas.

By creating small more intimate spaces that feel luxurious and personalised, the design of the terminal building also aims to bring the experience of a private aircraft terminal to every passenger.

An internal green oasis with a garden has been designed to create a relaxed, resort-like atmosphere within the airport terminal. Construction of a new runway, seaplane runway, taxiways, helipads and a road network for the airport is also well underway at the site.

On completion in 2030, The Red Sea Project will comprise 50 hotels, offering up to 8,000 hotel rooms and around 1,300 residential properties across 22 islands and six inland sites.

The destination will also include a luxury marina, entertainment and leisure facilities. The first phase of the project, scheduled for completion in 2022, will include the new airport, up to 3,000 hotel rooms, recreational facilities and residential properties.

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