SAUDIA to become first airline to operate from Red Sea International Airport

Render of Red Sea International Airport.
Image Credit: Red Sea Global

Red Sea Global (RSG), a multi-project developer, has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA) and daa International, the operator of Red Sea International (RSI) airport.

This MoU sets SAUDIA on course to become the inaugural airline to operate in and out of the Red Sea International airport, marking a pivotal moment in the Kingdom’s ambitious plans for regenerative tourism destinations.

The move aligns with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, which seeks to nurture and develop prospects to enhance regional trade and tourism.

Photo Credit: Red Sea Global

A Vision Taking Flight

Back in 2016, His Royal Highness, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, unveiled a visionary blueprint for Saudi Arabia – a thriving nation recognized as a global hub, enticing visitors from all corners of the world to experience the very best of Saudi culture, hospitality, and nature.


John Pagano, Group CEO of Red Sea Global, proudly notes, “When the first commercial flight touches down at Red Sea International, it won’t merely be a matter of personal pride for Red Sea Global.”

“It will symbolize a landmark achievement for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in transforming that vision into a tangible reality.”

Image Credit: Red Sea Global

SAUDIA Leading the Way

The memorandum of understanding solidifies SAUDIA‘s role as a pivotal player in Saudi Arabia’s aviation history. As a driving force behind Vision 2030, SAUDIA’s commitment is to facilitate the realization of mega-project goals.

Becoming the first airline to operate to and from the new RSI airport is clearly a source of immense pride.

Capt. Ibrahim Koshy, CEO of SAUDIA, emphasizes, “This agreement strengthens our position within the Kingdom and enables us to collaborate with RSG and daa International to boost tourism and elevate Saudi Arabia’s international aviation prominence.”

A SAUDIA aircraft in flight.
Photo Credit: SAUDIA

Sustainability Initiatives

The agreement not only paves the way for SAUDIA to initiate regular scheduled services to and from RSI.  

It also lays the groundwork for collaborative research on Lower Carbon Aviation Fuel (LCAF) and Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) utilization at Red Sea International Airport.

Additionally, it explores the feasibility of employing electric vertical take-off and landing jets (eVTOL) to reduce emissions from air travel to The Red Sea.

A Synergistic Partnership

daa International, with its existing relationship as the operator of RSG’s international airport, expands its role within this dynamic partnership.

Mr. Nicholas Cole, CEO of daa International, comments, “Red Sea International serves as a gateway for travelers to explore the wonders of Saudi Arabia.”

“Leveraging our unparalleled airport management expertise, we are committed to collaborating with RSG and SAUDIA to ensure that RSI provides a truly exceptional experience for all travelers.”

A Glimpse of the Future

The unveiling of the Red Sea International airport is imminent, coinciding with the launch of the first three resorts at the destination.

Initially catering to domestic flights between Riyadh and later Jeddah, it is poised to accommodate international flights from 2024 onwards.

This marks the beginning of a transformative journey, with 13 hotels scheduled to open in phase one and, upon full completion in 2030, a grand total of 50 resorts, offering over 8,000 hotel rooms and more than 1,000 residential properties across 22 islands and six inland sites.

The destination will also feature luxury marinas, golf courses, entertainment, dining options, and leisure facilities.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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