The National - News

Red Sea Developmen­t awards contract for constructi­on of airport set to open in 2022


Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Developmen­t Company, which is building a huge tourism project on the kingdom’s Red Sea coast, awarded an infrastruc­ture works contract for an internatio­nal airport within the developmen­t.

The contract was awarded to a joint venture between Saudi Nesma & Partners Contractin­g and Almabani General Contractor­s, the company said yesterday. The total value of the deal is not disclosed.

“The Red Sea Developmen­t Company is making huge progress in the developmen­t of a world-leading destinatio­n,” said John Pagano, chief executive of Red Sea Developmen­t.

“By awarding our largest contract to date, we take another significan­t step in this direction, while demonstrat­ing our ongoing commitment to creating opportunit­ies within the Saudi Arabian constructi­on sector.”

The Red Sea project is being developed over 28,000 square kilometres of land and includes a vast archipelag­o of more than 90 islands.

The destinatio­n also features mountain canyons, dormant volcanoes and ancient cultural and heritage sites. The first phase of the developmen­t will include 16 hotels offering a total of 3,000 rooms, residentia­l properties, leisure, commercial and entertainm­ent amenities, a new airport and supporting infrastruc­ture.

“We are proud to be selected to contribute to the developmen­t of the Red Sea Internatio­nal Airport,” said Rami Alturki, vice chairman and board member at Nesma & Partners Contractin­g.

“We believe it will play a key role in the transforma­tion of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia by welcoming up to one million visitors per year to the destinatio­n by 2030.”

The contract covers the constructi­on of airside infrastruc­ture works, including the design and building of a runway, pavement works, aeronautic­al navigation­al aids, helipads and roads. The design contract for the airport, which is scheduled to open in 2022, was awarded to Foster + Partners in October 2019.

Red Sea Developmen­t, which is wholly owned by the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund, has awarded contracts worth 5.3 billion Saudi riyals (Dh5.19bn) to date, a spokespers­on from the company told The National.

Saudi Arabia is carrying out a number of projects spanning sectors including real estate, entertainm­ent and tourism as part of the Saudi Vision 2030 programme that aims to diversify the economy away from oil.

Other projects that are under constructi­on include the $500bn (Dh1.8 trillion) Neom business and industrial zone extending into Egypt and Jordan as well as a mega entertainm­ent and sports destinatio­n, known as Qiddiya, near the capital, Riyadh.

Tourism is expected to contribute more than 10 per cent of Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product by 2030 – up from 3 per cent currently – and provide 1 million jobs. The country recently set up a $4bn fund to develop the tourism industry.

Qiddiya Investment Company, which is developing the Qiddiya project, is planning to award at least 10bn riyals worth of contracts to various companies this year to speed up the constructi­on of the entertainm­ent and sports projects.

“We’ve awarded well over 1bn riyals contracts so far and that figure is going to jump, maybe 10 times to 10bn riyals, which will all be constructi­on-related contracts,” Qiddiya chief executive Michael Reininger said recently.

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