Saudi airlines to buy 78 Boeing Dreamliners, with options for dozens more
New York, Mar 14 (EFE).- A pair of Saudi Arabian airlines have reached a deal to purchase 78 twin-aisle 787 Dreamliner jets from Boeing, the US planemaker and the White House said Tuesday.
Existing state-owned carrier Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) ordered 39 of the planes, with options for 10 more, while brand new airline Riyadh Air will also receive 39 jets, with options for 33 more.
“This agreement is part of Saudi Arabia’s wider strategic plan to transform the country into a global aviation hub,” Boeing said in a press release.
The deal with Riyadh Air is for 787-9 planes that carry around 300 passengers, while the agreement with Saudia is for that model and also for 787-10s, which can transport more than 330 passengers.
If the airlines exercise all of their purchase options and buy a total of 121 planes, it would mark the fifth-largest commercial order by value in Boeing’s history, the planemaker said without indicating the final price tag.
The Virginia-based planemaker said the deal will support Saudi Arabia’s goal of providing service to 330 million passengers and attracting 100 million visitors annually to the Arab nation by 2030.
By comparison, Spain, one of the world’s biggest tourist destinations, received around 83 million visitors in the year (2019) prior to the onset of the pandemic.
For his part, Riyadh Air Chief Executive Officer Tony Douglas was quoted as saying in Boeing’s release that “the new airline reflects the ambitious vision of Saudi Arabia to be at the core of shaping the future of global air travel and be a true disrupter in terms of customer experience.”
Boeing said its 787-9 model provides the longest range of that family of aircraft, with the capacity to carry around 300 passengers and fly 7,565 nautical miles (14,010 km).
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, for her part, expressed the US government’s satisfaction with the deals, which she said were valued at nearly $37 billion.
She said they were concluded “after years of discussions and intensive negotiations over recent months.”
Jean-Pierre also recalled that Boeing completed the second-largest commercial transaction in its history last month, when Air India placed orders for more than 200 aircraft as part of an expansion and modernization plan.
She noted that the Boeing aircraft are equipped with General Electric’s GEnex engines.
“In a period of weeks, Boeing has closed two of its largest transactions in the history of the company. Together, these deals will support over 1 million American jobs in the aerospace supply chain across 44 states,” the press secretary said.
Boeing’ shares were up in Tuesday trading following the announcement of the orders, rising around 3.5 percent just after midday. EFE