Construction on Saudi’s $500bn (SAR1.9tn) Neom gigaproject will start in Q1 2019, officials announced on 16 January, 2019.
The Neom Founding Board, chaired by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, approved the strategic concept of the master plan for Neom Bay, the first urban area to be developed within Neom, as reported by Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
According to Construction Week, the board gave “gave instructions to complete preparations and start construction work in the first quarter of 2019”, the state-news agency added.
Work on Phase 1 of Neom Bay will be completed in 2020. It is expected that a number of key facilities will be completed by the end of this year, including the current airport at Sharma, which will be upgraded to become a commercial airport operating regular flights between Riyadh and Neom.
Speaking on the news, Nadhmi Al-Nasr, chief executive officer of Neom, said 2019 will be “milestone” in the megaproject's journey.
He added: “The strategy of developing Neom Bay will rely on four key pillars that will be ingrained in the entire project development, with sustainability at the heart of aspect of the project.
“The first is to provide a living experience and an ideal quality of life for families; the second is to create a high-end lifestyle and a luxurious tourist destination; the third and fourth pillars are to support both innovation and creative centers in order to achieve Neom’s economic goals.”
Earlier this week saw another first at Neom when a Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) flight, carrying 130 of its staff, landed at Neom airport in Sharma, located in the Tabuk region.
Backed by Public Investment Fund, which is led by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince HRH Mohammed Bin Salman, Neom maps the kingdom’s long-term aspirations through 16 economic sectors.