Neom, the €480 billion “city of the future” Saudi Arabia is building in the middle of the dessert, will be getting another airport. While a timeline for the new development has not been revealed yet, Iranian architecture company Kalbod Design Studio has released its own renditions of what the project could look like.
The Neom International Airport (NIA) is planned to be more than just a travel hub, but a city within the city. Neom is conceived as an urban living area, a giga-project encompassing multiple cities which are like their own worlds, such as the Line, a 170 kilometre long skyscraper city, or Trojena, a mountain tourism complex.
Increasing direct connectivity to Neom is an important step in promoting the further development of the ambitious giga-project.Neom
“Neom Airport City embodies a visionary perspective, strategically positioned to establish a robust connection between Saudi Arabia’s Neom project and the global arena”, Kalbod Design Studio said about the project. “In response to the region’s communication needs, Neom Airport engages in a strategic dialogue with [the] Line, forging a symbiotic relationship in terms of accessibility and economic integration.”
Beyond being just another airport, the design studio envisions NIA as a “multifaceted functionality”, striving to become a tourist attraction in itself. It would feature museums, galleries and exhibitions aimed at attracting not only international tourists, but also domestic visitors as well as Neom residents. Moreover, the airport would consist of different micro-climate areas.
“Positioned as a comprehensive hub, Neom Airport City is poised to meet the diverse needs of the Neom area, facilitating seamless global connectivity at the highest standards. As an integral piece in the puzzle of Saudi Arabia’s megaproject, this airport is set to play a transformative role in the emergence of this new city”, added Kalbod Design Studio.
The Neom Bay Airport (NUM) has already been built to connect the city to the world, currently being served by Saudia flights domestically as well as to London and Dubai. Moreover, the new Neom Airlines is supposed to start operations by the end of 2024, first at NUM and moving to NIA once completed.
Neom was one of the first projects announced from the Saudi Vision 2030 programme, a project started by Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, in an attempt to diversify the country’s economy from oil. Aiming to attract 100 million visitors by the end of 2030, Saudi Arabia plans to invest $1 trillion in its tourism industry and become a regional travel hub, competing with the leaders in the region, Emirates and Qatar.
Among other endeavours of the Saudi Vision, the country launched a new national airline in March 2023, Riyadh Air, with the ambition of tripling its air traffic to 330 million passengers by the end of the decade. Riyadh is also being transformed with several mega projects, all due for completion by 2030, when the capital will be showcasing the fruit of the Vision at the World Expo 2030.