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.