Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has announced plans for radical new city development in the northwest of the country, in a section of desert close to the Red Sea. The city will run entirely on renewable energy and eventually be home to around 9 million people.
Yet, the real eye-opener of this futuristic metropolis is the design of the city’s buildings themselves, or should we say, “building”, as the city will be called “The Line” and comprise a single, massive wall-like structure that will extend for 170km, while standing 200 meters wide and 500 meters tall. If everything goes to plan, this single-building city will easily break the record for the world’s largest building.
The massive development is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s NEOM project, which plans to turn a remote area of the country into a high-tech semi-autonomous state. The plan hopes to attract foreign investment and eventually usher Saudi Arabia into a post-oil economy.
Technical details about the project are scarce. However, there’s no denying the plans look impressive: A recently released video shows a striking mirrored glass facade, three-dimensional living, plenty of green spaces, and multi-level walkways, with high-speed travel that connects each end of the structure in just 20 minutes.
Despite inspirational taglines such as “a civilizational revolution that puts humans first”, the scheme has attracted criticism, with some architects finding the design a little too dystopian for their tastes. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has said that The Line will embody “Zero Gravity Urbanism” and has issued a statement about his ambitious project:
“The designs revealed today for the city’s vertically layered communities will challenge the traditional flat, horizontal cities and create a model for nature preservation and enhanced human livability.”
So when can we hope to see the foundations laid on this futuristic project? So far, the NEOM project has received $500 billion in backing from the Saudi Arabia government and the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund. Plans were initially scheduled for 2025 but have since been postponed by another 5 years, though officials insist the project remains on track.
Emirates Airline To Invest $2 Billion On Major Upgrades
Emirates plans a huge retrofit on its fleet and an upgrade to the inflight experience.
Emirates Airline has just announced plans to improve its inflight experience for passengers. The carrier has budgeted $2 billion to refit the interiors of over 120 of its aircraft, aiming for a more modern aesthetic for cabins, along with better food choices, modern inflight entertainment options, and a significant service overhaul.
Emirates is well known for its premium service, so this overhaul is an ambitious decision, as many other airlines are trying their hardest to increase revenues and reduce costs.
“Emirates is flying against the grain and investing to deliver ever better experiences to our customers. Through the pandemic we’ve continued to launch new services and initiatives to ensure our customers travel with the assurance and ease, including digital initiatives to improve customer experiences on the ground. Now we’re rolling out a series of intensive programmes to take Emirates’ signature inflight experiences to the next level,” says Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline.
The investment aims to ensure Emirates stays on top form, with many of the upgrades scheduled to materialize quickly. For the physical refit, aircraft are scheduled to enter the Emirates Engineering Center in November. So what can passengers expect once work is complete? The most significant change will be to aircraft interiors, where flyers of all classes will immediately spot new flooring, paneling, and reupholstered seats.
As well as a physical overhaul, the airline plans to upgrade entertainment systems, adding a “Cinema in the Sky” experience, complete with a bespoke app. In addition, better meal choices will reflect changing dietary preferences, including a new vegan menu and a nod to sustainability — though there will remain a strong luxury vibe to the proceedings, as the company has entered an exclusive agreement to offer Dom Perignon vintage champagne on board, as well as delicacies such as Persian caviar.
Though many of the improvements may seem trivial, Emirates is hoping that along with a huge cabin overhaul, their overall flight experience will continue to make travel a pleasurable experience, elevating their service above the competition.