Red Sea Global (RSG) this week signed a memorandum of understanding with Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA) and daa International, the operator of Red Sea International (RSI) airport, for SAUDIA to become the first airline to operate flights to RSI.

Red Sea Global, the developer behind The Red Sea and Amaala, said that the airport is on track to open this year, as will the the first three resorts at The Red Sea destination.

The latest agreement will see SAUDIA commence regular scheduled services to and from RSI.

Initially, RSI will open for domestic flights to and from Riyadh and later Jeddah, before expanding to handle international flights from 2024.

“When the first commercial flight lands at Red Sea International, it won’t just be a point of personal pride for Red Sea Global. It will be a milestone moment for the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in making that vision a reality. It is fitting, therefore, that the kingdom’s flag carrier, SAUDIA, will be first to operate from our destination,” said John Pagano, group CEO of Red Sea Global.

The agreement will also provide a framework for RSG, SAUDIA and daa International to undertake joint research on the use of Lower Carbon Aviation Fuel (LCAF) and Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) at Red Sea International airport.

The use of electric vertical take-off and landing jets (eVTOL) to reduce emissions from air travel to The Red Sea will also be evaluated.

The agreement expands on daa International’s existing relationship with RSG as the operator of its international airport. Daa International will continue to manage the airport and work with SAUDIA on several activities including the allocation of airport gates and counters.

“This agreement will strengthen our position in the Kingdom and allow us to collaborate with RSG and daa International to boost tourism and enhance the country’s standing within international aviation,” said Ibrahim Koshy, CEO of SAUDIA.

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RSI is a regenerative airport designed by Foster and Partners. It will be able to serve an estimated one million domestic and international tourists per year by 2030 – at a peak of 900 travellers per hour.

(Image: Supplied by Red Sea Global)