Boeing lands deals with two Saudi Arabian airlines
The White House hailed the plans
Boeing announced agreements to sell up to 121 airplanes between a pair of separate deals with two Saudi Arabian carriers Tuesday, which combined could amount to roughly $37 billion.
The aerospace giant said Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA) has agreed to purchase up to 49 of its 787 Dreamliners, nearly doubling the carrier's existing Boeing fleet, which currently includes models in both the 777 and 787 families.
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New Saudi Arabian carrier Riyadh Air, owned by the nation's Public Investment Fund, also committed to purchasing 38 Boeing 787-9s, with the option for 33 more.
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Boeing said the orders from the Saudi firms combined are the fifth-largest commercial order in the company's history, and support the Middle East nation's goal of being able to provide service to 330 million passengers and attracting some 100 million visitors annually by the end of the decade.
"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," said Tony Douglas, CEO of Riyadh Air.
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Two Biden administration officials speaking on the condition of anonymity told The Associated Press that Boeing had been in talks with the Saudis for three years to make a deal. The sources said President Biden did not bring up the prospect with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman when the pair met last summer, but top aides made a plug for the agreement on Boeing's behalf.
"We are particularly pleased that Boeing was able to finally conclude these deals with Saudi Arabia after years of discussions, and intensive negotiations over recent months," said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
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Jean-Pierre called the announcement "another milestone in eight decades of cooperation between Saudi Arabia and American industry."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.