Neom Airport planned for Saudi Arabia's $500 billion mega-city

The futuristic city is expected to start taking shape in 2020, with the main city opening five years later
Neom Airport planned for Saudi Arabia's $500 billion mega-city
The Saudi government says NEOM - billed as a regional silicon valley - will draw investments worth $500 billion from the kingdom's vast Public Investment Fund, as well as local and international investors.
By Lubna Hamdan
Thu 16 Aug 2018 10:06 AM

Saudi Arabia’s $500 billion city of the future, Neom, will see its own airport being built near the kingdom’s Tabuk area.

The mega-city, part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s plan to diversify the country’s economy away from oil, is planned for Saudi’s Red Sea coast and revolves around artificial intelligence.

Neom Airport is reportedly located 10 kilometers from Sharma, 75 kilometers from Daba and will be initially coordinated with Prince Sultan City.

The airport’s code registered with the International Civil Aviation Organization is OENN.

Moreover, it will boast a runway of 3,757 metres long at 151 degrees on one side and 331 degrees on the other.

Neom, short for Latin-Arabic term Neo-Mustaqbal, which means "new future", is expected to start taking shape in 2020, with the main city opening five years later.

"Everything will have a link to artificial intelligence, to the Internet of Things - everything. Your medical file will be connected with your home supply, with your car, linked to your family, linked to your other files, and the system develops itself in how to provide you with better things,” the Crown Prince said in an interview with Bloomberg.

"Today all the clouds available are separate - the car is by itself, the Apple watch is by itself, everything is by itself. There, everything will be connected. So nobody can live in Neom without the Neom application we’ll have - or visit Neom," he said.

The 26,500 square km city will also most likely allow only electric vehicles to operate within its confines, according to its then-CEO Klaus Kleinfeld, a German executive who ran Siemens and Arconic. Kleinfeld left his role to become adviser to the Crown Prince.

“The ‘Neomians’ will...see it differently,” he said at the Gateway Gulf Investor Forum in Bahrain this year.

“For them, a car is one way of transportation, which you will have at your fingerprints. You push [a] button and the vehicle that you want shows up.”

Kleinfeld noted at the time that NEOM will be a showcase of what he termed a “post-industrial” lifestyle.

A number of hotels are already under construction in the area, which will also boast a summer resident for the Crown Prince and his father, King Salman.

In February, the Saudi Arabian government began to award contracts for the development of a NEOM in the northwest of the country, asking local construction companies to build five palaces there.

In July, King Salman chose to spend a “relaxing” holiday in the undeveloped city as opposed to his regular exotic destinations such as Morocco. A month later, he held his first-ever cabinet meeting in the futuristic city to show support to the project.

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Last Updated: Thu 16 Aug 2018 10:22 AM GST

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