The planned mega-city of Neom in western Saudi Arabia has received a tentative nod from the government to launch its own carrier, which would connect the Red Sea agglomeration with key destinations in the Middle East, Asia, and Europe, Arabian Business magazine has reported citing sources.

"Given the sheer scale of this project and that it is expected to become one of the tourist capitals in the world, having an airline dedicated to the city, specifically flying to Neom Bay, is very logical. The issue, at the present time, is how the step will be implemented, in line with the current vision for the presence of carriers Saudia and planned new flag carrier Riyadh Air," an inside source said.

The airport would operate from Neom Bay's airport and will reportedly cater predominantly to international tourists visiting the upcoming metropole. Plans are currently at an early stage, but the authorities are reportedly prepared to name Neom Bay a stand-alone destination requiring a dedicated carrier.

The city, which is expected to cost up to USD500 billion to build, will be a linear megalopolis extending from the shores of the Red Sea for some 170 kilometres inland. The project is backed by the sovereign Public Investment Fund, which is also financing the launch of Riyadh Air.

Neom Bay airport, which opened in 2019, currently sees limited domestic traffic by Saudia and a single international route operated by this airline, to Dubai International. Construction of the city environs actual has yet to start in earnest.