Amaala chooses Foster + Partners design for new international airport

Airport project is inspired by the optical illusion of a desert mirage and is set to be completed by 2023 – and will serve one million passengers annually

Amaala, the high-end luxury destination located along Saudi Arabia’s north-western coast, has announced that a designed by the UK-based architectural and design firm Foster + Partners has been chosen for its new international airport.

In a statement, Amaala said that the airport design by Foster + Partners is inspired by the optical illusion of a desert mirage. The firm conceptualised the terminal and control tower design, while the airport masterplan has been designed by Egis, an international consultancy and engineering group.

The project will incorporate unique design practices, drawing inspiration from its landscape, the statement added. The airport is due to be completed by 2023 and is estimated to accommodate one million travellers per year once it officially opens.

On the new airport, CEO Nicholas Naples said: “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,” remarked Naples.

“On approaching the airport, travellers will see stunning land art from the air. Entering the terminal, visitors will be greeted with a sleek mirrored edifice rising from the desert,” he explained.

“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,” he added.

According to Naples, the airport will reflect Amaala’s ultra-luxury hospitality spirit, providing an exclusive private-club experience perfectly encapsulating its pillars of art and culture; wellness and sport; and sea, sun, and lifestyle.

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.

On the ‘mirage’ design, Senior Executive Partner Gerard Evenden said: “Focusing on the themes of art, wellbeing and sport, the Foster + Partners design seeks to establish a new model for private terminals that provides a seamless experience from resort to aeroplane.”

“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,” he added.

Egis Aviation Director (Middle East & South Asia) Jacques Khoriaty, said: “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,” he concluded.

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