Saudia’s Intriguing Neom Bay Flights

Saudia’s Intriguing Neom Bay Flights

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Saudia’s latest airport for international growth is one you may have never heard of.

Saudia expanding out of Neom Bay, Saudi Arabia

Saudia is adding international flights out of Neom Bay, Saudi Arabia (NUM):

  • As of June 2022, the airline flies a once weekly Airbus A320 to Dubai (DXB)
  • As of December 2022, the airline will fly a once weekly Boeing 787 to London (LHR)
Saudia is expanding out of Neom Bay

Saudia is the only airline offering commercial service to the airport — the airport first got domestic service as of June 2019, and then international service started in June 2022.

It’s no coincidence that the airline is the only one to offer service to the airport, as Saudia and the region even have a partnership for this service. Therefore the airline will operate this service regardless of economic viability (then again, that’s often not a primary consideration in Saudi Arabia).

Neom Bay is located in the very northwest corner of Saudi Arabia, on the Gulf of Aqaba, near Egypt and Jordan. Neom Bay Airport is located just 30 miles from Sharm El Sheikh Airport, though getting between the two areas isn’t exactly easy.

All of that is great, though you may be wondering “why would Saudia operate once weekly flights to Neom Bay from Dubai and London?” Well…

Neom is Saudi Arabia’s futuristic “smart city” concept

So, what exactly is Neom Bay, and why would Saudia operate international flights there? While there’s not a whole lot there yet, Neom is Crowne Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s $500 billion futuristic mega project. Most significantly, this is where “The Line” is being built, which is Saudi Arabia’s new smart city that looks… almost not real?

The Line is intended to eventually house nine million people, who will live in interconnected societies run by artificial intelligence. This will be a 170 kilometer coastal strip that will be free of cars and streets, and will allegedly have zero carbon emissions. Excavation is underway, and it’s expected that this will open in the coming years.

The region is also expected to have a massive airport by 2030, which will be one of the largest in the world when complete.

This plan was first announced in 2017, and is part of Saudi Arabia’s 2030 Vision.

So while there’s not a whole lot in Neom Bay yet (other than workers), it’s pretty clear that this service is intended to already create direct links to Neom Bay, and to provide easy connectivity for business travelers to the region who may be involved with this development.

Bottom line

If you find yourself looking at the departures board at Heathrow Airport, and are confused by a flight to Neom Bay on Saudia, now you know why this service exists. Neom Bay is slowly getting international service, with once weekly flights from Dubai and now London.

While there’s not a whole lot in Neom Bay yet, this is the airport for Saudi Arabia’s new futuristic megacity, including The Line. I’m curious to see how all of this plays out.

What do you make of Saudia’s flights to Neom Bay?

Conversations (20)
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  1. Malc Member

    @Lucky -- it's "Crown Prince," not "Crowne Prince." Perhaps you're thinking of a certain hotel chain.

  2. iamhere Guest

    Makes more sense for Saudia since it is an established airline and part of a global alliance. NUM could also be in the future an efficient place to change planes depending on where you are going.

  3. Lune Gold

    I have just one question: With 2 walls 500m (1500ft) tall and only 200m (600ft) space between them, not to mention the tangle of bridges and buildings jutting into the inner space, how much sunlight are the people living in the lower levels going to get each day? Those AI robots better get good at handing out Vit. D pills and antidepressants...

  4. Luke Guest

    If this actually gets completed I'd think this should logically be the main hub eventually for the soon to launch Ria airlines.

    My trust for how liberally certain things will be allowed which isn't in the rest of the kingdom I'm very skeptical, given how a neighboring country just suddenly made a u-turn on allowing beer at the world cup games on the eve of first game when it's been promised to be allowed for last 10 years!

  5. Duck Ling Guest

    What is most odd about this is Saudia is charging over GBP3,000 for a one way flight on from NUM to LHR!

    Flights from Jeddah non stop to LHR go for around GBP700 one way.

    1. Eve Guest

      Tickets are based on demand, availability and the capability of market to pay the price, etc. This is why one way from New York to Singapore with SQ cost 3X more then the other way around or Mumbai to New York with SQ cost 60% of a direct Singapore to New York (all rates in Biz)

    2. Duck Ling Guest

      Of course, I understand demand vs supply.

      But what I don't understand is these flights are virtually empty in Business Class. Most dates still have 4 reward seats in J available on expertflyer almost every date the flight operates between now and march - indicating there are a large amount of seats in Business Class. This isn't reflected in the fares.

    3. Alan Guest

      The people who would take this flight are probably “captive audience,” people who have to travel to Neom regardless, chiefly for business, and the corporations would pay for it.

      The flight would have been empty at whatever price, so it makes sense to assume that fewer people would be sharing the cost of the flight, rather than more.

  6. Glenn Guest

    My Corporation (Parsons) has the contract for designing and building this new city, just as we completely built Yanbu over the last 50 years. The flights will mainly be for the people building The Line, but eventually this could be quite the business and tourism location.

    1. GLCTraveler Guest

      @Glenn............ EASY there cowboy! Parsons is not the only EAC, EPC, etc. involced in the City. All the other big boys, including those bigger and smaller than Parsons have a piece of this little KAS Pie!!

  7. Sam Guest

    It's quite close to an already established tourism center in Aqaba, which fills up. It has all of the same Red Sea diving & snorkeling attractions. They can run excursions to Wadi Rum & Petra in Jordan if they can sort out visa issues, which it seems they're on their way to doing. On a bare bones level it can work as far as an attractive place to go, in spite of cynicism otherwise.

  8. DenB Diamond

    It's a flight to a place that isn't built yet. Hasn't exceeded my threshold for "intriguing". To paraphrase Mr Barnum, if they build it, they will come. Serious coverage elsewhere raises doubt about the future of this project. For now there may be a reason for LHR-NUM service, but it isn't public demand. I'd like to see a full trip report though. Just like I'd like someone else to go to the body piercing shop ahead of me, so I can learn whether it hurts.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ DenB -- Hahahaha. But the fact that it's a flight to a place that hasn't been built yet is exactly what makes it intriguing!

    2. Julia Guest

      We're on a flight to nowhere...

    3. GLCTraveler Member

      Ohhh it's somewhere alright........... Lots of building going on at multiple sites!!
      Check out Red Sea Development....

  9. Rob Guest

    Be wary about going there for tourist reasons. There is nowhere to stay. All the "local" hotels are fully booked out for contractors on the project. The closest accommodation is about a 2 hour drive away. I found that out to my detriment after booking a Saudia round trip for a weekend to Neom on a sale for $45. Safe to say that I am not going.

  10. Bruce Guest

    You realise Sharm El Sheikh is separated by a strait with no bridge? The fact that the two airports are 30 km away is irrelevant because travelling to Sharm El Sheikh would require taking a boat to Neom.

    1. Peking Duck Guest

      I think Lucky means that the two places are quite close for those interested in swimming over.

    2. david Guest

      I guess you missed the part that said "though getting between the two areas isn’t exactly easy."

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ DenB -- Hahahaha. But the fact that it's a flight to a place that hasn't been built yet is exactly what makes it intriguing!

2
Lune Gold

I have just one question: With 2 walls 500m (1500ft) tall and only 200m (600ft) space between them, not to mention the tangle of bridges and buildings jutting into the inner space, how much sunlight are the people living in the lower levels going to get each day? Those AI robots better get good at handing out Vit. D pills and antidepressants...

1
Luke Guest

If this actually gets completed I'd think this should logically be the main hub eventually for the soon to launch Ria airlines. My trust for how liberally certain things will be allowed which isn't in the rest of the kingdom I'm very skeptical, given how a neighboring country just suddenly made a u-turn on allowing beer at the world cup games on the eve of first game when it's been promised to be allowed for last 10 years!

1
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