Saudi Arabia’s latest airline aims to be operational by the end of 2024, named NEOM Airlines. Here are the details.
Saudi Arabia is in the process of building a 26,500-kilometre economic zone that is to include high-tech projects that contribute zero emissions, due to the infrastructure powered by wind and solar energy.
Avid readers of AviationSource News will have caught the reference to the Saudi Vision 2030, and its ever-increased attempts to reduce The Kingdom’s dependency on oil revenue in some of our Saudi Arabia Orientated pieces over the last few months.
NEOM and its high-tech endeavors aim to put itself on the global investment map by creating new economic areas that include energy, manufacturing, and tourism. The project is being bankrolled by the Saudi Governments Public Investment Fund (PIF), with the intention of attracting foreign investment whilst creating jobs and promoting Muslim values.
NEOM Airlines: Saudi Airline Number Three
What does this have to aviation I hear you asking? Well, the Public Investment Fund has already unveiled their plan to create a second national flag carrier to operate alongside long-term Saudi airline, SAUDIA. And now comes the news that a third carrier will be operational by the end of quarter four in 2024.
Called NEOM Airlines and created to serve the mega project located in the northwest of The Kingdom, its CEO Klaus Goersch explained this week the plans the airline has to mirror the project when it takes to skies: “We are there to enable the destination. Our goal is a holistic and interconnected approach, with NEOM Airlines enabling the gross domestic product of NEOM”
NEOM Bay Airport will be the first to service the airline, having been the first of the region’s airports to open in 2019. The project includes the construction of three additional airports, and these will join NEOM bay in supporting the airline’s route network availability.
Goersch continued: “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.”
Sustainability at heart
You may think that creating a group of sustainable cities, powered by wind and solar energy is counterintuitive when it requires its own airline and multiple airports to help bring commuters, partners, and tourists to it. However, NEOM airlines have pledged to power all of its flights with some form of Sustainable Aviation Fuel on board, mixed with the facilities at NEOM.
As well as this, Goersch states that the airline wants to learn lessons from history, go into the finer details of sustainability by reducing single-use plastics, and embrace the technology of today (including 5G wireless connectivity), using both biometrics and artificial intelligence to help with its daily operations.
Giving a glimpse into how Goersch expects NEOM airlines to operate in conjunction with the land beneath that goes by the same name: “Ours certainly will not be a generic airline, we will be aiming to elevate every single touch point and your NEOM immersion will start before you even board the plane in London, New York, Paris and so on. The goal is to make the traveler’s journey as seamless as possible. Due to the fact we are building a new destination, new airports, and a new airline all at the same time – there is a sense that we can achieve this to a level that just has not been seen before.”