First flight leaves from Saudi Arabia's new Neom Bay Airport

Airport serves the Kingdom's futuristic new high-tech city

Saudi’s Neom airport operated its first flight. SPA
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The first commercial flight departed from Saudi Arabia's futuristic new Neom Bay Airport on Sunday, the Kingdom’s transport minister said.

The airport is located in Sharma in the north-western region of Tabuk and will serve the high-tech city of Neom that is currently under construction.

Neom is being touted as a “window of opportunity" for the Red Sea as it is situated close to the Jordan and Egypt borders, and is, they say, the "world’s first" independent international zone that extends over three countries.

Saudi Arabian Airlines, the Kingdom’s national carrier, operated the airport's first passenger flight and it travelled to the capital Riyadh. The airline said it will operate two flights weekly from Neom to Riyadh only.

“The first flight from Neom Bay Airport took off today carrying the ambitions of our country,” said Nabeel Al Amudi, Saudi Arabia's Minister for Transport, on Twitter.

The airport is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's Vision 2030 to attract foreign investment, harness technological advancements, create jobs and wean the economy away from its reliance on oil.

Neom’s CEO Nadhmi Al Nasri said the event marked a new milestone in the region.

"Today’s event brings our dream closer to reality. We are proud of our partnership with Saudi Airlines,” said Mr Al Nasri, who travelled on board the flight.

Neom is expect to be completed within the next seven to 10 years, according to the project's website.

The Kingdom announced last week that Neom Bay Airport will be the first in the region to the fifth generation wireless network.

Neom Bay Airport is the latest addition to Saudi Arabia's 35 flight hubs serving a population of more than 32 million people.