TRSDC confirms daa International as operator of Red Sea International airport

daa International will serve as the airport operator for RSI in 2023, overseeing design consultancy, management, and operations

The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC) has confirmed daa International as the operator at Red Sea International (RSI), which is on track to become the region’s first-ever carbon-neutral airport. TRSDC said the agreement covers the operations and general maintenance services and is worth close to US $266mn.

“Ahead of welcoming our first guests early next year, Red Sea International is ushering in a carbon-neutral, Net Zero era for airport designs and operations. As the region’s first-ever airport powered by 100% renewable energy, RSI will serve as an innovative blueprint for decarbonised urban destinations of the future,” said John Pagano, Group CEO of TRSDC.

TRSDC welcomed a delegation of Irish dignitaries to its offices in Riyadh to celebrate the signing of the agreement. Minister of State at the Department of Transport in Ireland, Hildegarde Naughton TD, and Ireland’s Ambassador to the Kingdom, Gerry Cunningham were both present, alongside Enterprise Ireland, the country’s trade organisation.

In June 2022, TRSDC and ARCHIRODON completed the installation of the last connecting piece for crucial Shura Bridge project and, in July 2022, the developer inked its first strategic partnership deal with Almutlaq Real Estate Investment.

The event was also attended by His Excellency the President of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), Mr. Abdul-Azeer bin Abdullah Al-Duailej.

“Our agreement with leading industry player daa International, with a proven track-record of excelling in international aviation, marks our latest step towards materialising a sustainable, regenerative gateway that will open this under-explored region of Saudi Arabia to the world,” added Pagano.

daa International will serve as the airport operator for RSI in 2023, overseeing design consultancy, management, and operations in accordance with the provisions of General Authority of Civil Aviation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (GACA) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). Services will also enable the seamless integration of green technology and waste and resource management, aligned with the highest standards of sustainability, while prioritising safety and security, TRSDC noted.

In August 2022, Ian Williamson, Group Chief Projects Delivery Officer at The Red Sea Development Company shared an exclusive piece with Middle East Construction News (MECN) on the project’s numerous achievements over the past five years. In early September 2022, the Red Sea Development Company said contracts worth $1.7bn have been signed for AMAALA to date.

Nicholas Cole, CEO of daa International commented, “The Red Sea International airport is primed to deliver luxury guest experiences unlike any other. We are thrilled to partner with TSRDC to bring to life a seamless, ultra-premium, highly personalised experience for each passenger traveling through this unique gateway, underpinned by stringent sustainability goals.”

The partnership will harness daa International’s extensive credentials in airport operations. Together with TRSDC, collective efforts will integrate innovative solutions across all RSI operations to eliminate and offset carbon emissions, optimise energy consumption, and advance efficiencies in resource and waste management.

TRSDC and daa International are working together towards ACI Europe’s Airport Carbon Accreditation Program with the intention of securing the highest current standard Level 4+, which would make RSI the first new airport to ever secure this standard before operations commence. Discussions are also in progress with regards to creating a new ‘Level 5’ standard, in turn making RSI the first airport in the world to acquire this new industry leading rating.

Later in September 2022, TRSDC unveiled the design for the Red Sea Marine Life Institute at AMAALA.

As a regenerative airport, RSI has been designed by international architecture firm Foster + Partners. The project is on-track to welcome its first passengers in 2023, with capabilities to serve an estimated one million domestic and international tourists per year by 2030 – at a peak of 900 travellers per hour.

The airport was successfully registered with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and recently completed test landings and take-offs on the 3.7km main runway. The team also celebrated eight million safe man-hours with 2,400 workers.

RSI will be 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. The destination will also service hydrogen-powered seaplane variants, supplied by hydrogen-electric aviation firm ZeroAvia, as well as electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) and electric short takeoff and landing (eSTOL) aircraft technology.

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