NEOM Airlines (Neom Bay) will launch operations in late 2024 or by the first quarter of 2025 as a third state-owned airline in Saudi Arabia, albeit with a narrower focus on serving the futuristic urban development of Neom Bay.

Chief Executive Klaus Goersch told the Future Travel Experience website that the start-up would strive to provide a "world-class travel experience" for passengers travelling to and from Neom, catering to leisure and business traffic alike.

"The final route development plan is in the making, but naturally key regional and global gateways are top candidates. We cooperate closely with all Neom stakeholders and projects to align our 'go to market' strategy. After all, we are the enabler for the destination, so alignment across the Neom projects is absolutely key," he said.

Goersch emphasised that the airline, designed from scratch, will offer more than just flights and will work to create a comprehensive travel experience, but he refused to disclose any further details of the business plan or fleet strategy. He stressed that NEOM Airlines would not compete with Saudia or the recently unveiled Riyadh Air.

"Each airline has a clear strategy, being a global network carrier [Riyadh Air], focusing on religious traffic [Saudia], or being an airline dedicated to a destination. [...] Our focus is on serving the destination from global international markets. This means the three airlines complement each other as partners for the joint ambitions of the kingdom," Goersch clarified.

Neom is an under-construction urban project on the Red Sea coast in northwestern Saudi Arabia. While the future linear city is at a very early stage of development, Neom Bay airport already serves the existing limited urban area. Saudia and flyadeal operate domestic routes out of the airport. Saudia also flies weekly to London Heathrow, while flydubai connects the city with Dubai International. The ch-aviation capacities module shows that the airport sees 14 scheduled weekly departures.

Goersch previously held executive functions at British Airways, IAG International Airlines Group Cargo, Air Canada, and AirTran Airways.