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NEOM Airlines is going to be a tech-focused carrier

The airline is embracing advanced technologies such as biometrics and artificial intelligence.

NEOM Airlines is going to be a tech-focused carrier
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

Saudi Arabia is introducing NEOM Airlines, a dedicated airline for the kingdom’s futuristic city, to begin operations in 2024. The airline will be embracing advanced technologies such as biometrics and artificial intelligence.

The airline will be focused on enabling travel for tourists, residents, and commercial partners to and from NEOM, Klaus Goersch, the airline’s CEO revealed in a blog post.

“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,” he said.

Set to open in 2025, Neom is a $500 billion smart city that will be powered entirely by clean energy. The destination, which aims to attract tourists globally, has revealed four major projects: The Line, mountain destination Trojena, research and innovation district Oxagon and luxury yachting and golfing destination Sindalah. 

Of course, as the airline for the futuristic city, it’s no surprise that it will incorporate a slew of cool tech. Goersch revealed that the airline will retrofit existing aircraft with existing technology to service consumer demand in early 2024. From 2026, the airline plans to invest in ultra-modern aircraft, “whether electric, hydrogen-powered, or supersonic,” equipped with next-generation interiors. 

Other exciting features: 6G Wi-Fi, large screens at every seat, in-seat gaming, and chat technology incorporated into the aircraft. The ultimate goal is that every airline’s flight will have some sustainable fuel onboard, originating from NEOM’s mixing facilities, said Goersch.

Besides investing in sustainable aviation and novel aircraft, the airline embraces advanced technologies such as biometrics and artificial intelligence. It aims to use biometric facial recognition technology to remove departure games and make travel visa-free.

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

He continued, “And just imagine the time of your meeting changed by a few hours, and you could change your flight to a later one without hassle or cost. Better still, imagine you are collecting loyalty points at the airport – where the whole place is lounge-style service – as well as while flying and when using the facilities in your destination because everything is owned by the same company.”

The airline will fly out of NEOM Bay Airport, which is already operational with the national airline Saudia, before moving to the soon-to-be-built NEOM International Airport. 

Earlier in March, Dubai carrier Flydubai also announced plans to start flights to the destination. 

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