The Red Sea Development Company welcomes Irish government to Riyadh as it signs SAR 1 billion deal with daa International


daa International has been appointed to manage operations at Red Sea International airport

Riyadh: The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC), the developer behind the world’s most ambitious regenerative tourism projects, The Red Sea and AMAALA, has confirmed daa International as the operator at 

Red Sea International (RSI), which is on track to become the region’s first-ever carbon-neutral airport.

The latest agreement covers operations and general maintenance services worth close to SAR 1 billion and is set to propel the airport on its journey towards environmental sustainability powered by 100 percent renewable energy.

“Ahead of welcoming our first guests early next year, Red Sea International is ushering in a carbon-neutral, net-zero era for airport designs and operations. As the region’s first-ever airport powered by 100 percent renewable energy, RSI will serve as an innovative blueprint for decarbonized urban destinations of the future,” said John Pagano, Group CEO of TRSDC.

TRSDC welcomed a delegation of Irish dignitaries to its offices in Riyadh to celebrate the signing of the agreement. Minister of State at the Department of Transport in Ireland, Ms Hildegarde Naughton TD, and Ireland’s Ambassador to the Kingdom, Gerry Cunningham were both present, alongside Enterprise Ireland, the country’s trade organization. Additionally, the event was attended by His Excellency the President of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), Mr. Abdul-Azeer bin Abdullah Al-Duailej.

“Our agreement with leading industry player daa International, with a proven track-record of excelling in international aviation, marks our latest step towards materializing a sustainable, regenerative gateway that will open this under-explored region of Saudi Arabia to the world,” added Pagano.

daa International will serve as the airport operator for RSI in 2023, overseeing design consultancy, management, and operations in accordance with the provisions of General Authority of Civil Aviation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (GACA) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Services will also enable the seamless integration of green technology and waste and resource management, aligned with the highest standards of sustainability, while prioritizing safety and security.

Nicholas Cole, CEO of daa International, said: “The Red Sea International airport is primed to deliver luxury guest experiences unlike any other. We are thrilled to partner with TSRDC to bring to life a seamless, ultra-premium, highly personalized experience for each passenger traveling through this unique gateway, underpinned by stringent sustainability goals.”

The partnership will harness daa International’s extensive credentials in airport operations. Together with TRSDC, collective efforts will integrate innovative solutions across all RSI operations to eliminate and offset carbon emissions, optimize energy consumption, and advance efficiencies in resource and waste management.

TRSDC and daa International are working together towards ACI Europe’s Airport Carbon Accreditation Program with the intention of securing the highest current standard Level 4+, which would make RSI the first new airport to ever secure this standard before operations commence. Discussions are also in progress with regards to creating a new ‘Level 5’ standard, in turn making RSI the first airport in the world to acquire this new industry leading rating.

RSI is a uniquely regenerative airport, designed by international architecture firm Foster + Partners to provide an unforgettable aviation experience. The project is on-track to welcome its first passengers in 2023, with capabilities to serve an estimated one million domestic and international tourists per year by 2030 – at a peak of 900 travelers per hour.

The airport was successfully registered with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and recently completed test landings and take-offs on the 3.7km main runway. The team also celebrated eight million safe man-hours with 2,400 workers.

RSI will be the first and only airport in the region with a dedicated runway for seaplanes and water aerodromes, regulated by a new set of GACA safety guidelines. The destination will also service hydrogen-powered seaplane variants, supplied by hydrogen-electric aviation firm ZeroAvia, as well as electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) and electric short takeoff and landing (eSTOL) aircraft technology

About The Red Sea Development Company 

The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC – is a closed joint-stock company wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia. TRSDC was established to drive the development of The Red Sea Project, a luxury, regenerative tourism destination that will set new standards in sustainable development and position Saudi Arabia on the global tourism map. 

The project is being developed over 28,000 km2 of pristine lands and waters along Saudi Arabia’s west coast and includes a vast archipelago of more than 90 pristine islands. The destination also features sweeping desert dunes, mountain canyons, dormant volcanoes, and ancient cultural and heritage sites. It is designed to include hotels, residential properties, leisure, commercial and entertainment amenities, as well as supporting infrastructure that emphasizes renewable energy and water conservation and re-use, as well as a circular waste management system to achieve zero waste to landfill. 
Activity for the first phase of development is well underway and is on track to be completed by the end of 2023. The project has surpassed significant milestones, with over 1000 contracts signed to date, worth in excess SAR 25 bn ($6.6bn).  

The 100-hectare Landscape Nursery, which will provide more than 25 million plants for The Red Sea Project and AMAALA, is now fully operational. There are more than 20,000 workers currently on-site and 90km of new roads are now complete. The Construction Village and the Waste Management Centre are both fully operational and development is progressing well at the Coastal Village, which will be home to around 14,000 people who will eventually work at the destination.