New desert mirage inspired airport set to open in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia has unveiled plans for a new airport to serve what has been described as a new “ultra-luxury destination” on its Red Sea coast.
The new destination is called AMAALA and the airport, which is slated for completion in 2023, will boast a design that that is said to have been inspired by the optical illusion of a desert mirage.
The terminal and control tower design was conceptualised by UK-based architectural and design firm Foster + Partners, while the airport master plan was designed by Egis, an international consultancy and engineering group.
According to Egis, the new ‘Mirage Airport’s design is due for completion in 2023 and is being built to accommodate up to one million travellers per year.
AMAALA CEO, Nicholas Naples, says: “A gateway to AMAALA, visitors will be greeted by personalised experiences from the moment they step off the plane. From design to personalisation, this will be no ordinary airport.
“Immersed in the spirit of AMAALA, the airport will create an environment that embodies the philosophy of the destination beyond. This will be a unique space that personifies luxury and marks the start of memorable experiences for the world’s most discerning guests. We are delighted to work with Foster + Partners and Egis on this project.”
Egis says that on approaching the airport, travellers will see “stunning land art from the air”. Entering the terminal, it notes, visitors will be greeted with a sleek mirrored edifice rising from the desert.
The structure takes its inspiration from the surrounding environment, resulting in a mesmerising mirage effect.
A spacious courtyard will anchor the terminal and will be complemented by contemporary interiors complete with unique artwork and tailored experiences.
“The airport will reflect AMAALA’s ultra-luxury hospitality spirit, providing an exclusive private-club experience perfectly encapsulating AMAALA’s pillars of art and culture; wellness and sport; and sea, sun, and lifestyle,” says Egis.
Among the list of amenities provided by the airport are climate-controlled hangars that will be available for private jets as well as a ground transfer service that is accessible from inside the arrival hangar.
Gerard Evenden, a senior executive partner at Foster + Partners, says: “Responding to the surrounding landscape, the terminal building will form an exclusive gateway to the AMAALA resort.
“The passenger experience through the entire building will be akin to a private members club – luxurious and relaxing. Focusing on the themes of art, wellbeing and sport, the design seeks to establish a new model for private terminals that provides a seamless experience from resort to aeroplane.”
While Egis’ aviation director for the Middle East and South Asia, Jacques Khoriaty, says: “Along with embodying the luxurious spirit of the resort, the AMAALA airport meets the highest environmental design and sustainability standards, is operationally versatile and incorporates the latest airport technology and best practice standards on offer.
“It has been a privilege to have worked closely with AMAALA to define the requirements of this unique project and we look forward continuing our support all the way through to the opening of the airport in 2023.”