Saudi Arabia announces purchase of 72 Boeing jetliners for new national airline Riyadh Air

The deal marks the fifth largest commercial order by value in the planemaker's history and includes an additional 49 Dreamliners to bolster Saudi Airlines' existing fleet

By Reuters

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Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Published: Tue 14 Mar 2023, 6:32 PM

Last updated: Tue 14 Mar 2023, 6:36 PM

Two Saudi Arabian airlines announced plans on Tuesday to order 78 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, a big win for Boeing that marks the fifth largest commercial order by value in its history.

State-owned Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) and new national airline Riyadh Air will each buy 39 widebody 787s from the U.S.-based planemaker. The deal contains options for 10 additional Dreamliners for Saudia and 33 for Riyadh Air. Reuters reported details of the planned order on Monday citing sources.

The list prices for 78 planes would total nearly $37 billion, Reuters previously reported.

Boeing Chief Executive Dave Calhoun said the order showed the huge demand for widebody airplanes around the world as tourism continues to rebound, and is the latest in a series of big 787 orders.

"It's like the biggest I've ever seen," Calhoun said of 787 demand. "The world wants to connect in this post-Covid moment."

Calhoun said the planemaker was standing by its 787 production guidance announced in November "and we're confident we can do it."

The Federal Aviation Administration on Friday approved Boeing's plan to resume deliveries of the 787.

Boeing shares were up 2.3% in early trading.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced on Sunday the creation of Riyadh Air, with industry veteran Tony Douglas as its chief executive, as the kingdom moves to transform its transport industry.

"We've got a blank sheet of paper," Douglas told Reuters on Tuesday.


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