Saudi Arabia’s carbon-neutral Red Sea International (RSI) airport will be operated by daa International as part of a $266 million (SAR 1 billion deal).
The Dublin-headquartered company will “propel the airport on its journey toward environmental sustainability powered by 100 percent renewable energy,” the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Monday.
The agreement was signed in the presence of the Minister of State at the Department of Transport in Ireland, Hildegarde Naughton TD, and Ireland’s Ambassador to the Kingdom, Gerry Cunningham at the Red Sea Development Company’s Riyadh office.
Saudi Arabia’s President of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) Abdul-Azeer al-Duailej was also present among others.
Making it the region’s first airport powered fully by renewable energy, John Pagano, CEO of TRSDC was quoted as saying that it will “serve as an innovative blueprint for decarbonized urban destinations of the future.”
daa International will oversee operations of RSI in 2023, including design consultancy, management, integration of green technology and waste and resource management. Air traffic operations and security will be managed in line with GACA regulations.
TRSDC and daa International are reportedly working toward ACI Europe’s Airport Carbon Accreditation Program with the intention of securing the highest current standard.
The airport was designed by Foster + Partners. It has the capacity to serve one million domestic and international tourists every year by 2030 – at a peak of 900 travelers per hour, SPA reported.
It recently completed test landings and take-offs on the 3.7 kilometer-long runway, while the team celebrated eight million safe man-hours with 2,400 workers.
RSI will become the first and only airport in the region with a dedicated runway for seaplanes and water aerodromes, regulated by a new set of GACA safety guidelines.
It will also service hydrogen-powered seaplane variants, and electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) and electric short takeoff and landing (eSTOL) aircrafts.
“Our agreement with leading industry player daa International, with a proven track-record of excelling in international aviation, marks our latest step toward materializing a sustainable, regenerative gateway that will open this under-explored region of Saudi Arabia to the world,” said Pagano.