Gulf Business: Saudi Arabia has awarded a multi-year contract to a US-based infrastructure consulting firm AECOM to provide project management consultancy services for NEOM International Airport, in the country’s northwestern region.
AECOM’s scope will include project management for master planning, design and construction services, through to testing, commissioning, operational readiness, activation and transition (ORAT).
“We are very pleased to be part of this innovative project, which is set to transform travel between NEOM and the world,” said Lara Poloni, AECOM’s president. “Our track record delivering large-scale infrastructure projects in the region, as well as our mobilized global aviation resources and project management experts will help ensure the successful delivery of NIA.”
“This contract is a testament to our leadership position in the region and to our continuous commitment to NEOM and the goals of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030,” said Hamed Zaghw, chief executive of AECOM’s Middle East and Africa region.
Connecting NEOM to the world
Meanwhile, the futuristic city aims to increase direct connectivity to the futuristic city as part of its broader strategy to promote the further development of the giga-project, which is being developed by local, regional and international companies.
Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation opened NEOM Bay Airport in 2019, following the completion of the development work of the first phase and the registration by the International Air Transport Association.
In March, flyDubai became the first UAE-based airline to fly to the airport. The budget carrier operates the Dubai to NEOM flights twice a week on Thursdays and Sundays.
flydubai will also serve other locations in Saudi Arabia, which include Al Qaisumah, Jizan and Narjan.
The kingdom’s flag carrier Saudia partnered with NEOM in May 2022, to begin offering weekly service to international destinations from the city , marking the inauguration of commercial services at the airport.
Saudia started operating direct flights to select regional and international destinations including Dubai International Airport in late June 2022 with plans to expand to London.
Aircraft travelling to the selected destinations will have a joint NEOM-Saudia livery, showcasing the brand to the world. Saudi Arabia recently launched a new national carrier Riyadh Air and the premium airline is expected to fly to NEOM.
The futuristic city
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the development of Sindalah, the first luxury island destination of the $500bn futuristic city and one of the most important projects supporting the kingdom’s national tourism strategy in December 2022.
Sindalah is expected to start welcoming guests in early 2024 and its construction will create 3,500 jobs for the tourism sector and hospitality and leisure services.
In November 2021, NEOM also unveiled Oxagon, a place where ideas can profoundly change the world. It brings together a radical new model for future manufacturing centres, based on NEOM’s philosophy of redefining the way humanity lives and works in the future.
Other construction projects include THE LINE, a zero-carbon city that is being built across 170 kilometres Red Sea coastal plain. The city forms part of development work already underway at NEOM and seeks to create 380,000 jobs and contribute $48bn to the GDP by 2030.
THE LINE’s design, which was unveiled in July 2022, embodies how urban communities will be in the future in an environment free from roads, cars and emissions. It will run on 100% renewable energy and prioritize people’s health and well-being over transportation and infrastructure as in traditional cities. It puts nature ahead of development and will contribute to preserving 95% of the land.