An Ultra-Luxury Airport Terminal is Being Designed to Look Like a Mirage

AMAALA, the ultra-luxury destination located along Saudi Arabia’s northwestern coast, has unveiled plans for a new international airport, with a design inspired by the optical illusion of a desert mirage.

AMAALA ultra-luxury airport

AMAALA, the ultra-luxury destination located along Saudi Arabia’s northwestern coast, has unveiled plans for a new international airport, with a design 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. It will incorporate unique design practices, drawing inspiration from its location. The airport is due for completion in 2023 and is estimated to accommodate one million travellers per year once it officially opens.

Commenting on the announcement of the new international airport, the Chief Executive Officer of AMAALA, 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.”

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. 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.

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.

Senior Executive Partner of Foster + Partners, Gerard Evenden, said, “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.”

Middle East & South Asia Aviation Director of Egis, 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.”

Amaala Development

AMAALA is an ultra-luxury tourism project on Saudi Arabia’s northwestern coast that is inspired by the Red Sea. Composed of three communities based on the pillars of Art & Culture; Wellness & Sports; and Sun, Sea & Lifestyle, and rooted in philanthropy, the project will come to life as part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 roadmap.

Named after the Arabic word for ‘hope’ and the ancient Sanskrit word for ‘purity’, AMAALA targets the world’s top 2.5 million ultra-high net worth travellers, offering them meaningful, purpose-driven and immersive experiences that aim to safeguard the planet’s natural resources. Set within the Prince Mohammad bin Salman Natural Reserve, the development will offer an immersive experience for travellers and residents that is underpinned by a strong focus on environmental preservation, conservation of marine life and sustainable practices.


The unique heritage and unspoiled landscape of AMAALA will allow travellers to immerse themselves in the finest wellness, art, culture, sports and fitness offerings. With close proximity to major destinations in the region, AMAALA will become the heart of The Riviera of the Middle East.

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