Skift Take

Even though it's not fully built, Qatar will be flying travelers to Neom, a Saudi giga-project that needs as many staffers as it can get.

Qatar Airways has launched twice-weekly flights to Neom, the $500 billion anchor of Saudi Arabia’s tourism push. The first of Neom’s destinations – Sindalalah – is expected to open partially next year. For now, these two flights are intended to connect Neom staff with their families outside of Saudi Arabia.

“Qatar Airways is…[creating] a vital pathway for the city’s workforce to maintain connections with families back home. Similarly, the new operations in Neom will facilitate business travel, further fostering enriched economic and cultural ties between Qatar and Saudi Arabia,” said the airline in a statement.

Neom currently has over 1,500 full-time employees representing over 65 nationalities, and numerous business partners from all over the world.

Qatar Airways already flies to AlUla, Dammam, Gassim, Jeddah, Medina, Riyadh, Taif, and Yanbu in Saudi.

Neom’s Own Airline

In June 2023, Neom published – and promptly removed – a blog post talking about the launch of its own dedicated airline. Simply called Neom Airlines, it was said to be launching next year.

Operations would begin from the existing Neom Bay Airport, before moving to the soon-to-be-built Neom International Airport.

At that time, it was Klaus Goersch leading the upcoming airline, though he has since left the role to become COO of Air India.

In his blog post, Goersch wrote: “The airline will be an extension of Neom: The place, the company, the vision. We are there to enable the destination. Our goal is a holistic and interconnected approach, with NEOM Airlines enabling the gross domestic product of Neom.”

“Without Emirates, for example, there wouldn’t be a Dubai right? Be ready for a completely different travel experience.”

He added: “Just imagine if your bags were collected from your home or office and delivered to the hotel or residence you were going to,” said Goersch. “Imagine if biometrics were advanced enough to recognize you via facial recognition as soon as you walked in a building, security clearing you for travel without the need for even going through a gate – let alone having to bother with a visa.”

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Tags: airlines, aviation, neom, qatar airways, saudi arabia

Photo credit: Neom. Credit: Unsplash.

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