Ne om’ sf ir st air­port will com­plete be­fore the end of 2018 and be­gin op­er­a­tions in 2019, Ne­haBha­tia re­ports

Construction Week - - TOMORROW’S ICONS -

Con­struc­tion ac­tiv­ity is pro­gress­ing on Neom, Pub­lic In­vest­ment Fund’s (PIF) $500bn (SAR1.9tn) gi­gapro­ject along Saudi Ara­bia’s Red Sea coast. Up­dates pro­vided by the king­dom last month stated that the project has “en­tered the first phase of ac­tual devel­op­ment” af­ter the ac­cel­er­a­tion of prepa­ra­tion works to de­velop in­fra­struc­ture for Neom’s ini­tial res­i­den­tial area.

Work on Neom’s first air­port is due to com­plete be­fore the end of 2018, with bi­weekly flights sched­uled to com­mence op­er­a­tions at the start of 2019. The fa­cil­ity is part of “a gen­eral plan to es­tab­lish a net­work of air­ports” within Neom, in­clud­ing an in­ter­na­tional avi­a­tion fa­cil­ity. Speak­ing at the Fu­ture In­vest­ment Ini­tia­tive con­fer­ence in Riyadh, Eng Nadhmi Al-Nasr, the newly ap­pointed chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Neom, said prepa­ra­tions are “pro­gress­ing sig­nif­i­cantly” to be­gin con­struc­tion work at Neom Bay, adding that the pace of devel­op­ment is “greater than ex­pected”.

The devel­op­ment team, he said, is “aware of the chal­lenges” it faces in de­vel­op­ing a megapro­ject such as Neom, which “will be the largest in­ter­na­tional spe­cial zone in the world in terms of size and scale of in­vest­ments”.

Al-Nasr con­tin­ued: “How­ever, our ca­pa­bil­i­ties backed with strong po­lit­i­cal, fi­nan­cial and lo­gis­ti­cal sup­port will en­able us to achieve what we plan for, es­pe­cially that we are deal­ing with a green­field project in an un­touched land.”

Ad­dress­ing the au­di­ence at Fu­ture In­vest­ment Ini­tia­tive to mark the first an­niver­sary of Neom’s an­nounce­ment, Al-Nasr added: “We are work­ing hard to en­sure that the newly cre­ated towns and cities in Neom will cre­ate new ways of liv­ing, econ­omy, trade, [and] in­no­va­tion that at the end will make Neom an ideal en­vi­ron­ment for all of its fu­ture res­i­dents.”

Saudi Ara­bia said its po­lit­i­cal and fi­nan­cial back­ing for Neom is “one of the key fac­tors for en­sur­ing the suc­cess” of the gi­gapro­ject. The $500bn re­quired to de­velop Neom will be pro­vided by the Saudi Ara­bian gov­ern­ment, PIF, and lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional in­vestors.

A re­port by SPA said Neom is reach­ing “an ad­vanced stage of devel­op­ment”, with 16 eco­nomic sec­tors iden­ti­fied as part of the project to gen­er­ate an­nual in­come worth $100bn (SAR375.2bn). The 16 sec­tors per­tain to the fu­ture of en­ergy, wa­ter, mo­bil­ity, biotech, food, man­u­fac­tur­ing, me­dia, en­ter­tain­ment, cul­ture and fash­ion, tech­nol­ogy, tourism, sport, de­sign and con­struc­tion, health, ed­u­ca­tion, and liv­abil­ity.

HRH Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man bin Ab­du­laziz, Saudi Ara­bia’s Crown Prince, Vice Pres­i­dent of the Coun­cil of Min­is­ters, and Min­is­ter of De­fense, un­veiled Neom dur­ing the in­au­gu­ral Fu­ture In­vest­ment Ini­tia­tive con­fer­ence in Riyadh on 24 Oc­to­ber, 2017.

Neom has seen ma­jor progress since its launch, with re­ports emerg­ing in Fe­bru­ary 2018 that con­tract­ing

“We are aware of the chal­lenges we face in de­vel­op­ing a mega project such as Neom, as it will be the largest in­ter­na­tional spe­cial zone in the world in terms of size and scale of in­vest­ments.”

heavy­weight Saudi Bin­ladin Group, led by Bakr Bin Laden, had won ini­tial con­tracts to work on the project.

Al-Nasr, who for­merly worked with Saudi Aramco and Kaust, was named to lead Neom this July. Months later, Yusuf­fali MA, founder and chair­man of the UAE’s Lulu Group, said his com­pany had plans to in­vest in Neom as part of its ma­jor push into Saudi Ara­bia.

Ger­man tech­nol­ogy com­pany SAP also told Con­struc­tion Week at Gi­tex 2018 in Dubai that its smart city sys­tems (page 63) could ben­e­fit Neom. SAP said it is in talks with gov­ern­ments to con­trib­ute to Neom, a gi­gapro­ject that sits along­side Qid­diya and Amaala in the port­fo­lio of PIF, the sov­er­eign wealth fund of the king­dom.

Fu­ture In­vest­ment Ini­tia­tive 2018 was a ma­jor at­trac­tion for global busi­ness lead­ers and dig­ni­taries alike. Mem­o­ran­dums of un­der­stand­ing worth $50bn (SAR187.6bn) were signed on Day 1 of the sum­mit that was held in Riyadh on 23-25 Oc­to­ber 2018.

[im­age: Twit­ter / dis­cov­erneom].

Prepa­ra­tions are un­der way to be­gin con­struc­tion work at Neom Bay, Al-Nasr said in Oc­to­ber 2018

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