Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea international airport set to welcome inaugural flight with flydubai service

New twice-weekly service, operated by flydubai, commences from DXB to RSI on 18 April
Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea international airport set to welcome inaugural flight with flydubai service
Red Sea International Airport. (Supplied)

Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Global (RSG), the company responsible for developing The Red Sea and AMAALA as regenerative tourism destinations, recently announced its preparations to receive the first international flight at Red Sea International Airport (RSI). The inaugural flight, operated by flydubai, will originate from Dubai International (DXB) and is scheduled to arrive on Thursday, 18 April. This signifies the commencement of a new biweekly route to The Red Sea destination. Since September 2023, RSI has been served by regular domestic flights operated by Saudia. The addition of flydubai will increase the total number of weekly flights to RSI to eight.

Read more: Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Global: Further resorts including Nujuma, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve to open in 2024

Strategic location, ambitious annual guest accommodation goal

John Pagano, Group CEO at RSG, expressed that Red Sea International Airport (RSI) is strategically located within a three-hour flying distance from 250 million individuals. He mentioned that when operating at full capacity, RSI aims to accommodate one million guests annually. Pagano highlighted that the inaugural flight six months ago marked the beginning of their journey towards achieving this objective. He further stated that the first international flight represents another significant milestone in positioning Saudi Arabia as one of the leading global tourism destinations. Pagano expressed anticipation for the opportunity to open up to the world and extend a warm welcome to visitors from the UAE, the wider Middle East region, and other parts of the world. Pagano also emphasized the importance of RSI in terms of facilitating connectivity for their employees, partners, and the broader local community.

Convenient travel options, exciting additions on the horizon

RSI was established with the aim of offering convenient travel options for guests heading to The Red Sea. Presently, two high-end resorts are operating in the area: Six Senses Southern Dunes, The Red Sea, and St. Regis Red Sea Resort, which recently played host to the renowned footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and his family.

Furthermore, there are three additional resorts scheduled to open this year. Among them is Nujuma, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, which is one of only seven such reserves in the world. Its grand inauguration is slated to take place in the upcoming weeks. Following closely, Shebara will showcase an impressive collection of overwater, stainless steel villas, while Desert Rock, an exceptional resort nestled amidst mountains, will also make its debut.

According to Michael White, chief commercial officer of RSI, the advent of international travelers marks a significant milestone in RSI’s progression, subsequent to the commencement of domestic flights in September of the previous year. He expressed the organization’s dedication to delivering exceptional services to both passengers and airlines, and expressed anticipation for the future expansion of their network to cater to The Red Sea and visitors from across the globe.

Path to carbon neutrality, innovative sustainability measures

RSI is making significant progress towards becoming the first carbon-neutral airport in the Middle East. Several innovative sustainability measures are being implemented throughout all operational aspects. The goal is to effectively eliminate carbon emissions. Additionally, the aim is to offset carbon emissions, enhance energy efficiency, and optimize resource and waste management.

These measures encompass various strategies. One such strategy is utilizing locally sourced materials during the design phase. Another strategy involves incorporating 100 percent renewable energy sources. The objective is to achieve the minimum LEED Gold Certification standard for the building. Additionally, efforts are being made to minimize light pollution in adherence to the Dark Sky Guidelines.

Another noteworthy aspect of RSI’s innovative design is its terminal, which is set to open in its entirety next year. The terminal is divided into five ‘mini terminals’ that can operate independently or concurrently based on demand. This approach significantly reduces the overall energy consumption of the building when compared to a traditional centralized terminal design.

Expanding connectivity, facilitating travel

For his part, Sudhir Sreedharan, senior vice president of Commercial Operations (UAE, GCC, Subcontinent, and Africa) at flydubai, the airline has achieved the distinction of being the first carrier to provide service to Red Sea International from the UAE. This development allows passengers to enjoy direct access to the resorts located in Saudi Arabia’s The Red Sea destination, he added. Sreedharan further highlighted that this accomplishment reinforces flydubai’s dedication to expanding connectivity and facilitating travel to underserved markets. Additionally, it underscores their commitment to fostering stronger connections between the regions they serve through Dubai’s aviation hub, Sreedharan added.

Extensive accommodation offerings

By the year 2030, The Red Sea will reach its full completion, boasting a remarkable collection of 50 resorts. This expansive development will encompass a total of 8,000 hotel rooms. Moreover, it will include over 1,000 residential properties. These accommodations will be spread across 22 islands and six inland sites. In addition to these accommodations, the destination will feature luxurious marinas. It will also include golf courses, entertainment venues, and fine dining options. Furthermore, an array of leisure facilities will be available. All of these elements combine to ensure a comprehensive and unforgettable experience for visitors.

RSG flydubai
Red Sea International Airport. (Supplied)

Sustainable approach to power generation

Notably, The Red Sea destination takes pride in its sustainable approach to power generation. It operates independently from the grid, relying on the energy harnessed from five solar farms. These farms are equipped with an impressive 760,000 panels, harnessing the power of the sun to meet the area’s energy needs. Furthermore, the destination has also constructed and successfully operates one of the world’s largest battery storage facilities, further enhancing its commitment to sustainable energy practices.

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