Riyadh [Saudi Arabia], March 15 (ANI): Saudi Arabia has planned to order 78 jetliners from Boeing and will take options to buy 43 more in a major boost for the American aircraft manufacturer, taking the total to 121, CTV news reported citing Associated Press.
On Tuesday, two Saudi Arabian airlines said that they will order 121 planes from Boeing. According to CTV news, the order for Boeing 787s will be divided between Saudi Arabia’s flag carrier, Saudis, and a planned new airline called Riyadh Air, which Saudi officials introduced over the weekend.
At list prices, the combined deal would be worth about USD 37 billion if the options are exercised, but airlines routinely get deep discounts. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Relatively high oil prices have boosted Saudi Arabia’s economy and government, making it easier for the kingdom to close a multi-billion-dollar jet order.
The creation of Riyadh Air by the Saudi sovereign-wealth fund and the growth of Saudia is part of a broader Saudi strategy to diversify its oil-based economy. Saudi Arabia hopes to become a global aviation hub, attracting 100 million annual visitors by 2030, reported CTV News citing Associated Press.
“The ambition here in the kingdom is huge, and this today … is our first big order,” Tony Douglas, the CEO of Riyadh Air, told CNBC. “There will be more orders.”
The planes covered by the orders and options are long-range, two-aisle “widebody” jets, in the industry jargon. Boeing and Europe’s Airbus dominate the market.
“Serving the Middle East, in our view, is a very, very important and critical market for widebodies, and we like that Boeing won this one,” said Boeing CEO David Calhoun, who traveled to Riyadh for the announcement, according to CTV News.
Recently, Air India also placed an order to purchase 290 aircraft from the company in a bid to scale up its fleet and achieve sustainable growth.
In a statement, Boeing said Air India plans to invest in 190 737 MAX, 20 787 Dreamliner and 10 777X airplanes. Along with a comprehensive set of aviation services, Air India is advancing its fleet strategy to sustainably address South Asia’s rapidly growing domestic and international air travel market, Boeing said in February.
Meanwhile, the Saudi deal is also a boost for the Boeing 787, which the company calls the Dreamliner. Boeing has struggled with interruptions in delivering new 787s for more than two years because of production flaws.
Shares of Boeing Co., based in Arlington, Va., rose more than 4 per cent Tuesday, reported CTV News citing Associated Press.