‘Send my bags to the resort please’: Welcome to TRSDC’s new airport

Exclusive Unlike current standards, the entire operational plans for travel processes at RSI ensure top- notch customer services and create an environment that offers a seamless, unmatched and hassle-free experience.
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Unlike current standards, the entire operational plans for travel processes at RSI ensure top- notch customer services and create an environment that offers a seamless, unmatched and hassle-free experience.
Exclusive ‘Send my bags to the resort please’: Welcome to TRSDC’s new airport
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Updated 31 July 2022

‘Send my bags to the resort please’: Welcome to TRSDC’s new airport

‘Send my bags to the resort please’: Welcome to TRSDC’s new airport
  • The first phase of this Saudi Vision 2030 project will welcome the first guests early next year

Flight testing held on July 20-21 at the Red Sea International Airport, which is under construction at The Red Sea Project, marks the beginning of a new era of tourism and travel in the Kingdom.

With over five hours’ drive from the nearest existing major international airports of Jeddah or Madinah and over two hours from the nearest regional international airports of Yanbu or AlUla, RSI airport will bring domestic and international guests to the doorstep of this new global tourism destination.

Deliberately located some 20km from the sensitive coastal lagoons and islands, home to precious mangroves and reefs, the airport is tucked away on an open plain between the coastal dunes and the mountains.

The first phase of this Saudi Vision 2030 project will welcome the first guests early next year, and the airport’s developers are determined to make the travelers’ experience unique.

TRSP in itself is a unique regenerative development with the vast majority of land and marine area remaining untouched and the carefully selected development intervention set to achieve an environmental net-positive benefit by 2040. In addition, the supporting infrastructure, such as the new airport, has been sensitively approached to stay true to the vision and values of the project's developer The Red Sea Development Co.

TRSDC Airport Project Executive Director Joseph Stratford, a civil and environmental engineer who has spent most of his career in airport infrastructure delivery in the Middle East, is spearheading the project.

He left for his homeland for five years to apply his international airport delivery experience to the expansion of the London Heathrow Airport. He has since returned to the Kingdom to lead on next-generation aviation delivery.

“Red Sea International Airport is one of the smaller airports I have led, but without doubt the most iconic, progressive and special. The architectural concept, mode of operation and guest experience are truly unique,” Stratford told Arab News in an exclusive interview.


Red Sea International Airport is the most iconic, progressive and special. The architectural concept, mode of operation and guest experience are truly unique.

Joseph Stratford

Unmatched operating procedures

Unlike current standards, the entire operational plans for travel processes at RSI ensure top-notch customer services and create an environment that offers a seamless, unmatched and hassle-free experience. 

For instance, the aviation team is working toward implementing a unique concept of operations for baggage handling. Passengers at RSI will not have to worry about stopping by a baggage claim area to pick up their bags.

“Instead, the passengers will be escorted to the welcome center in the arrival area. The bags will be processed in a dedicated facility through a state-of-the-art baggage handling system that can track each piece until it is delivered to the owner at their selected destination,” said Abdulaziz Al-Abdan, aviation operations director, RSI airport. 

Additionally, the airport will apply discreet and non-intrusive security arrangements and procedures, enhancing the overall customer experience without infringing any regulatory requirements governing such operations. 

Furthermore, RSI will be the first and only airport in the Middle East and North Africa that serves amphibious seaplanes and is linked to water aerodromes. 

The airport features a dedicated runway for seaplanes and small general aviation aircraft operations, allowing direct air access to the Red Sea destinations. 

“Our aviation team worked closely with the General Authority of Civil Aviation to establish the regulatory framework for water aerodromes, seaplanes and water runways,” said Al-Abdan.

The regulatory framework resulted in the introduction and enforcement of a new set of safety regulations that govern the establishment and operations of water aerodromes GACA Regulations Part 137, as well as agreeing on the certifications for Red Sea Air Services Co. to operate seaplanes and water runways.



Ammar Ghaith, associate airport infrastructure director, RSI, said the airport will be the
first and last impression of all their distinguished guests.

Magnificent by design

What makes RSI different is it is a high-end tourist destination airport and not a regular civil airport. The scope of its operations includes mobility and hospitality services that begin when guests arrive at the airport until they finally check in to their hotels.

“The airport is an extension to the exclusive resorts at the Red Sea and will be the first and last impression of all our distinguished guests,” said Ammar Ghaith, associate airport infrastructure director, RSI.

It has a unique design with efficient space planning that allows for fewer steps to complete the arrival or departure process, besides minimum human intervention and shortest processing times.

The airport has partnered with key stakeholders to facilitate its flight procedures and airspace networks.

The stakeholders include GACA, Saudi Air Navigation Services, airport aviation consultant United ATS, FlyNas, FlyAdeal, TRSDC Operations, Red Sea Air Services Co., airside contractor Nesma Almabani Joint Venture, water runway consultant Jacobs and airport operator DAA International.

Mobility like never before

Ground and sea-based local mobility to resorts will be by more-sustainable electric vehicles chosen over petrol or diesel engine vehicles.

In the case of air taxis, although initially planned to be by conventional amphibious seaplanes, the airport has a dedicated secondary runway, which will be an early adopter of hydrogen-powered seaplane variants and eVTOL and eSTOL aircraft technology.

While eVTOL is the acronym for electric vertical takeoff and landing technology, eSTOL is electric short takeoff and landing type aircraft.

This approach will enable guests and their baggage to travel quickly, quietly and sustainably to and from resorts with style and pure spectacle.

The air taxi terminal is scheduled to open next year, initially to be used for a combination of air taxi, domestic and general aviation for guest access to the first tranche of hotels. The iconic main terminal building will provide international commercial aviation capability and capacity for successive hotel delivery and operation tranches.

The flight testing initiated recently is a necessary step for all new airports where a purpose-built aircraft laden with specialist equipment maneuvers new runways to test the visual and instrument aids and systems. In addition, it enables pilots to conduct safe and efficient takeoffs and landings in diverse weather and other operating conditions.

Shoring up responsibly

“There has been a quantum leap in recent years in sensitive delivery in this region, in terms of how we approach, plan, deliver and operate facilities like these,” Stratford explained.

“This is, across the board, from the culture of caring for the workforce, environmental protection, processes, quality of product, respect of time and cost. The wider team and I are passionate about ensuring that projects like this are delivered responsibly,” he added.

Stratford earlier lived in TRSP Construction Village Housing accommodation alongside many of the 1,800 contractors’ staff for the airport. He relocated this year to the Coastal Village Residences, where the TRDSC offices, management hotels, apartments, villas and townhouses have accepted staff, suppliers and visitors in the final construction stages of TRSP ahead of the phased opening of the resorts to tourists next year.

“Striving for high standards has been key to the timeliness and quality of delivery of the airport facilities so far,” Stratford said. “Indeed, the airport project has passed nine million safe man-hours worked without a lost time injury.”

TRSDC’s approach aligns with the national and industry leadership mandate that aviation development is a critical enabler of economic growth and should focus on environmental and sustainability implications and challenges.

Stratford added: “Besides providing iconic and progressive facilities in form and function, we have considered sustainability and the environment from the outset.

“For the airfield construction, the contractors have met the highest standards and expectations that I have seen in my career — impact assessments, permitting, monitoring and reporting are taken seriously. The team’s culture, pride, passion, professionalism and care play their part.”

Construction is underway on the passenger terminal facilities, with building structural and envelope packages awarded and commenced. TRSP will be entirely off-grid, including the airport, powered by a solar farm and the world’s largest battery storage facility.

Going high on ratings

Additionally, the airport passenger terminal facilities have followed industry-leading LEED or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, the rating system used by the US Green Building Council to measure a building’s sustainability and resource efficiency.

“We have aimed high for a Platinum Rating,” emphasized Stratford. “The detailed design-stage preliminary rating suggests we are on track for a Gold Rating or better, to be confirmed through construction and operation.”

He added: “We have been driven toward requirements, selection of materials, methods, equipment, energy and resources reduction and reuse.”

In theory, some 15 percent of the aviation industry’s carbon challenge is associated with the ground-based airport infrastructure, and the other 85 percent is associated with jet aircraft and flight.

“We’re mindful of our part of the aviation sustainability and carbon challenge, and what we can do with practices and technology of the day, but also looking to what we can do to facilitate emergent technologies and practices,” Stratford informed.

For example, RSI is planning infrastructure for sustainable aviation fuels, ground power and preconditioned air, use of resources and energy-efficient operational practices.

Kuwait’s non-oil sector to grow 3.8% in 2023: IMF  

Kuwait’s non-oil sector to grow 3.8% in 2023: IMF  
Updated 06 June 2023

Kuwait’s non-oil sector to grow 3.8% in 2023: IMF  

Kuwait’s non-oil sector to grow 3.8% in 2023: IMF  

RIYADH: Kuwait’s non-oil growth is projected to increase to about 3.8 percent in 2023 on account of a robust expatriate community, the International Monetary Fund has forecast.   

While overall growth is anticipated to drop to 0.1 percent this year, the non-oil economy will be strengthened on the back of the financial stimulus and partial recovery in the employment of expatriates, according to the IMF’s latest analysis of Kuwait.

The county’s advancement will occur despite the slow growth of real credit, said the report, adding: “Benefiting from high oil production and prices, Kuwait’s economic recovery continues.” 

The report noted that Kuwait showed adequate recovery from the effects of the pandemic, and inflation has been controlled given the limited spillover from higher global food and energy prices. 

This resulted from managed prices and subsidies, as well as the general tightening of monetary policy in line with major central banks.  

Kuwait’s fiscal balance has developed since its overall fiscal surplus is expected to have increased by 22.5 percent of the gross domestic product in 2022, up from 6.4 percent in 2021.   

As for the country’s external balance, the current account surplus is estimated to have increased to 33 percent of the GDP last year, up from 26.6 percent in 2021.   

Additionally, the country’s financial stability has been preserved as its banking sector sustains an efficient level of capital and liquidity.  

Economic threats  

The instability of oil prices and production brought on by external factors pose risks to Kuwait’s external balance, public finances, growth and inflation, according to the report.   

Kuwait’s economy could also be at risk of the slowdown in global growth due to further tightening of monetary policy or pressures in the banking sectors of major advanced economies.   

The report also noted that the country is susceptible to the delay in implementing the necessary financial and structural reforms, which could lead to the continuation of the current public fiscal policy.   

In turn, this might damage investor trust, while limiting progress towards diversifying economic activity and boosting its competitiveness.  

“The dominance of oil in the economy, coupled with global decarbonization trends, necessitates fiscal reforms to reinforce sustainability, and structural reforms to boost non-oil private sector-led growth,” said the report, adding: “Political gridlock between the government and parliament has hindered reform progress, which could be made now from a position of strength.”

Dammam hosts important fish and algae conference and exhibition

Dammam hosts important fish and algae conference and exhibition
Updated 06 June 2023

Dammam hosts important fish and algae conference and exhibition

Dammam hosts important fish and algae conference and exhibition

DAMMAM: More than 100 companies from 35 countries descended on the Dhahran Expo for an under-the-sea experience during the International Conference and Exhibition of Algae from June 4-6.

The event, organized in conjunction with the International Fisheries Exhibition — known as SIMEC — played host to 16 workshops in a dedicated interactive space where seafood was offered to visitors, videos were on display, and experts were on hand to discuss everything related to algae and fish.

The exhibition was held under the patronage of the Eastern Province Gov. Prince Saud bin Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, the Ministry of Environment Water and Agriculture, and the National Livestock and Fisheries Development Program.

Abdul Majeed bin Saad Alshehri, chairman of the conference and SIMEC, said: “In this major global event, we proudly bring together global expertise and international expertise that will further advance food processing industries, develop human capacities, localize cutting-edge algae, and aquaculture technologies … I am fully confident that (IACE will) come up with tangible and actionable recommendations that will transform the algae and fisheries industries.”

The hybrid modality conference was presented in both English and Arabic — with headsets providing simultaneous translations for those requiring it. 

The aim of the three-day gathering was to target businesses from the algae sector as well as to increase awareness regarding the potential for algae cultivation. 

Another goal was to attract investors, inform government representatives of updates in the sector and engage stakeholders from the algae and aquaculture production chain. 

It was also a chance for the global community to exchange information and form potential collaborations among academic researchers working on algae biotechnology.

The main conference sponsor, NEOM, had several interactive spaces within the exhibition and hosted several workshops.

There were other forums led by experts from around the world, including local Saudi universities and companies. 

The Dhahran Expo space was also divided into booths with informative experts passing out brochures and samples of fresh seafood.

One such exhibitor was Julien Ropert, export manager from Le Gouessant in France. 

He traveled to Saudi Arabia for the first time in order to participate at the exhibition and to speak on a panel. 

With over 30 years of experience in fish feed manufacturing, Le Gouessant brought its expertise in sustainable fish farming nutrition to the space. 

Having worked for Le Gouessant since 2016, Ropert is the technical sales manager aquaculture based in France but in charge of Africa and the US. 

Saudi Arabia is a new target as they hope to expand into the Middle East.

“I came to this exhibition to see the Saudi people because I saw videos on the internet on many occasions and it’s a huge country with huge capacity and the government is increasing the sector of the efficiency of fish farming,” he told Arab News.

His hope is that he will be able to secure some partnerships within Saudi Arabia in the imminent future in relation to fish farming.

Saleh Bukhamseen, the award-winning underwater cinematographer whose short film “The Whaler” won the Science Award at the 2022 Nice International Film Festival, spoke to Arab News about the importance of algae in the region. 

“We are here at the exhibition to show the people how important algae is and and how it’s important for the whole ecosystem,” Bukhamseen told Arab News.

He emphasized how everything within nature is connected. The green turtle is a vital creature in the controlling of algae since it serves like a mini-cleaner in the water. 

The turtle nibbles on the algae to prevent it from taking over and completely covering and blooming over the coral reef — which is home to a huge population of fish. Coral reefs provide around 25 percent of the fish consumed from the whole ocean and sea. Algae serves as an important source of food for those sea turtles.

The exhibition held in Dammam was significant because the nearby waters produce larger fish meant to be eaten. In the Red Sea, on the opposite coast, those fish are more colorful but are “tiny” and thus not suitable for mass consumption. 

The waters in Dammam are more rocky and shallow and as a result, allow for sea creatures to thrive. The Red Sea is deeper and better for diving.

The next SIMEC AquaFish exhibition will be held at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center in early 2024.

NEOM secures $5.6bn to develop 1st phase of residential communities for workforce

NEOM secures $5.6bn to develop 1st phase of residential communities for workforce
Updated 06 June 2023

NEOM secures $5.6bn to develop 1st phase of residential communities for workforce

NEOM secures $5.6bn to develop 1st phase of residential communities for workforce

RIYADH: Developmental work is fast gaining pace at Saudi Arabia’s futuristic city NEOM as the giga-project finalized contracts worth SR21 billion ($5.6 billion) to build the first phase of residential communities for the workforce.

In one of the world’s largest public-private partnership deals for social infrastructure, NEOM signed up some of the leading Saudi developers to build 10 communities across the smart city that will accommodate an additional 95,000 occupants upon completion of the first phase. 

According to a press release, the preferred bidders who will invest in developing this first-phase residential project include Alfanar Global Development, Almutlaq Real Estate Investment Co., Nesma Holding Co. and Tamasuk Holding Co.

Tamasuk Holding Co. will be investing in the project through two separate partners — Al Majal Al Arabi Group  Co. and the Saudi Arabian Trade and Construction Co.

The deal goes well with the $500 billion project’s plan for more private sector participation in developing the city’s infrastructure.

“NEOM has selected some of the leading companies in Saudi Arabia as partners in delivering and operating temporary communities with world-leading services and infrastructure,” said Nadhmi Al-Nasr, CEO of NEOM. 

He added: “The newly formed partnerships mark an important milestone for the region and are a testament to the capabilities of our team and partners who rapidly achieved financial close on a record amount.” 

The project owner revealed that the temporary residential projects, used by the workforce during the construction period of NEOM, will be built sustainably, using relocatable modular units which can be repurposed once the communities are no longer needed. 

These residential communities will also include a wide range of lifestyle facilities, including swimming pools, entertainment venues, multi-purpose sports fields, cricket ovals and outdoor courts for other sports.

“We are elated to partner with NEOM on this multi-nodal infrastructure project and to contribute to NEOM’s vision of disrupting the conventional approach to urban living. This is in line with our commitment to deliver high-quality solutions in a sustainable manner,” said Sabah Al-Mutlaq, vice chairman of Alfanar Global Development.

NEOM said the second phase of the temporary residential project is expected to be issued to the market in the coming months as it is reviewing interest from investors with plans to shortlist pre-qualified participants from now.

Mohammed Al-Balwi, chairman of Tamasuk, said: “We are immensely proud to be NEOM’s infrastructure partners. Together with Almajal and SATCO, we are committed to delivering the infrastructure that will facilitate the wider and rapid development of NEOM.”

The giga-project is being developed to attract additional investors for its commercial assets. With the signing of the multibillion-riyal investment, NEOM looks to achieve the project’s goal of having a direct economic impact on the region through developing local competency and creating jobs while advancing the use of sustainable solutions in construction.

NIDC inks deal with Valeo Egypt to boost Kingdom’s automotive sector 

NIDC inks deal with Valeo Egypt to boost Kingdom’s automotive sector 
Updated 06 June 2023

NIDC inks deal with Valeo Egypt to boost Kingdom’s automotive sector 

NIDC inks deal with Valeo Egypt to boost Kingdom’s automotive sector 

RIYADH: In a push to localize the Kingdom’s automotive industry, Saudi Arabia’s National Industrial Development Center has inked a strategic deal with Valeo Egypt, the software development unit of the global automotive supplier. 

The two parties signed a memorandum of understanding set to pave the way for the localization of automotive components and manufacturing of modern systems for mobility technology in the Kingdom, the Saudi Press Agency reported. 

The MoU was signed in the presence of Bandar Alkhorayef, the Saudi minister of industry and mineral resources, and Ahmed Saleh, the Egyptian minister of trade and industry. 

The deal will significantly enhance the efficiency and growth of Saudi Arabia’s automotive sector, as charted in the National Industrial Strategy’s objectives. 

The NIS serves as Saudi Arabia’s roadmap for diversifying its industrial base, boosting non-oil exports, attracting foreign investment, promoting innovation and research, and generating local employment. 

The strategy revolves around three key objectives, namely developing a resilient industrial economy, establishing an integrated industrial center, and achieving global leadership in manufacturing selected industrial commodities. 

The NIS has set ambitious goals for the industrial sector, with the aim of increasing the sector’s contribution to the Kingdom’s gross domestic product from $88.26 billion to $377.06 billion by 2035.

Additionally, it hopes to boost jobs in the industrial sector from 900,000 to 3.3 million during the same period.  

Closing bell: Saudi bourses stay steady for the 3rd consecutive day  

Closing bell: Saudi bourses stay steady for the 3rd consecutive day  
Updated 06 June 2023

Closing bell: Saudi bourses stay steady for the 3rd consecutive day  

Closing bell: Saudi bourses stay steady for the 3rd consecutive day  

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index remained steady for the third consecutive day, as it edged up 23.28 points, or 0.21 percent, to close at 11,316.87 on Tuesday.  

While parallel market Nomu gained 112.78 points to reach 21,428.78, the MSCI Tadawul Index went up 0.05 percent to close at 1,497.65.  

The total trading turnover of the benchmark index was SR6.69 billion ($1.78 billion) as 104 listed stocks advanced, while 106 retreated.  

The best-performing stock on the day was Abdullah Al Othaim Markets Co., whose share price surged 8.19 percent to SR14.80.  

The Power and Water Utility Co. for Jubail, and Yanbu and Aldrees Petroleum and Transport Services Co. were the other top gainers, as their share prices soared 7.07 percent and 6.96 percent, respectively.  

Tihama Advertising and Public Relations Co. was the worst performer with its share price dropping 2.52 percent to SR19.36.  

On the announcements front, Saudi Arabia’s Capital Markets Authority approved the public listing of Fad International Co., Atlas Elevators General Trading & Contracting Co., Clean Life Co., and Riyal Investment & Development Co. on Nomu.  

According to bourse filings, Riyal Investment and Clean Life will offer 720,000 and 300,000 shares, representing 9 percent and 20 percent of their capital, respectively.  

On the other hand, Fad International and Atlas Elevators will float 240,000 and 1.2 million shares, accounting for 20 percent of each of their capital.  

Meanwhile, CMA issued a resolution to approve Al-Rajhi Co. for Cooperative Insurance’s request to increase its capital from SR400 million to SR1 billion by giving 1.5 bonus shares for every existing share owned by the shareholders. Its share price edged up 0.98 percent to SR123.60.  

The authority also approved a request by Takween Advanced Industries Co. to reduce its capital from SR950 million to SR464.65 million.   

According to a statement to Tadawul, the move will bring down the company’s number of shares to 46.464 million from 95 million. Its share price edged up 1.42 percent to SR10.