Mott MacDonald To Lead Saudi Tourism Project’s VTOL Strategy

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The developer of Saudi’s flagship sustainable tourism project has awarded a contract to global engineering firm Mott MacDonald to provide consultancy services to determine the optimal sustainable vehicle and fleet configuration at the destination.

Mott MacDonald will deliver an analysis of the total land, sea, and air transport needs for The Red Sea Development Company’s (TRSDC) 28,000km² site, from its opening in 2022 to its completion in 2030.

This will involve a strategy for destination-wide clean mobility using electric and hydrogen vehicles, boats, and aircraft, including VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) vehicles.

“We believe that environmental regeneration and commercial development do not have to be mutually exclusive,” said John Pagano, CEO of TRSDC. “Our destination is one of extraordinary natural beauty, which we have a responsibility to protect and enhance for future generations.”

The company will also be required to identify the most appropriate supporting infrastructure, such as electric and hydrogen vehicle charging stations, in line with TRSDC’s ambitions to power the destination with 100 percent renewable energy.

The appointment is a key development in the roll out of Phase One, which is well underway. Vehicle fleet to be assessed includes e-bikes, golf buggies, cars, vans, trucks, buses, seaplanes, helicopters, VTOL, passenger ferries, boats, maintenance vehicles, airside vehicles and even off-road leisure pursuit vehicles. Mott MacDonald will also propose the best fleet propulsion systems from a range of available sustainable options.

Chris Seymour, Middle East Managing Director at Mott MacDonald, said: “At Mott MacDonald, we embed the key aspects of sustainable development into all our projects and business activities.

“Sustainable development is a matter of making choices and decisions that satisfy all relevant social, economic, and environmental concerns, and is an area where TRSDC is setting new standards. We’re looking forward to being part of shaping this beautiful destination and supporting TRSDC’s progressive sustainability initiatives.”

As part of TRSDC’s commitment to go beyond sustainability to actively enhance the destination, the project will be powered with 100 percent renewable energy, 24 hours a day via solar and wind power, an accomplishment which has never been achieved on a project of this scale before.

TRSDC is investing in a number of innovative nature-based solutions throughout the construction process, to not just prevent environmental damage, but positively contribute to the area’s delicate ecosystems. A central part of this approach is the aim to increase the project’s net conservation benefit by 30 percent by 2040.

In line with the development of the sustainable management plan, TRSDC will be partnering with leading vendors who demonstrate a proven track record and commitment to innovation and sustainability.

Approximately 500 contracts have been awarded so far at a value of SAR 12 billion (nearly $3.2 billion) – set to rise to nearly SAR 15 billion by the end of 2020.

The project has surpassed significant milestones and work remains on track to welcome the first guests by the end of 2022, when the international airport and the first four hotels will open. The remaining 12 hotels scheduled for completion in Phase One will open in 2023, delivering a total of 3,000 rooms across five islands and two inland resorts.

Upon completion in 2030, the Destination will include 50 hotels offering up to 8,000 hotel rooms and 1,300 residential properties across 22 islands and six inland sites.

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