Two Saudi Arabian airlines announced plans on Tuesday to order a
combined 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 wide-body 787s from the U.S.-based
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.
Chief Executive Dave Calhoun said the order showed the huge demand for
wide-body 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."
said the planemaker was standing by its 787 production guidance
announced in November, which calls for Boeing to ramp up to 10 787s by
the 2025-2026 timeframe.
All customers, "specifically Riyadh Air,
are all built into that schedule", Calhoun said. "We have a lot of
confidence that we can meet it and that was an important part of this
The Federal Aviation Administration on Friday approved
Boeing's plan to resume deliveries of the 787. Boeing shares were up
3.6% in early trading.
The company's clean sweep of the lucrative
wide-body order is a blow for European rival Airbus which as recently as
late last year had been expected to secure at least part of the deal.
Saudia currently operates both Airbus and Boeing jets.
Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst at AeroDynamic Advisories, said Boeing’s
success in capturing the entire order could partially be due to "a
greater U.S. presence in the region -- politically, diplomatically,
He added however that "it's also quite likely that the 787 is just closer to their requirements right now".
particular, the 787 allows for a more flexible route network, as it’s
smaller than the A350 but with equivalent range. "That’s probably a big
factor in it," Aboulafia said.
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince
Mohammed bin Salman announced on Sunday the creation of new national
airline Riyadh Air, with industry veteran Tony Douglas as its chief
executive, as the kingdom moves to compete with regional travel hubs.
"We've got a blank sheet of paper," Douglas told Reuters on Tuesday.
Air is wholly owned by Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, the Public
Investment Fund (PIF), which has more than $600 billion in assets and
is the main driver of the kingdom's efforts to wean itself off oil.
airline will serve more than 100 destinations around the world by 2030
and will directly compete against Emirates and Qatar Airways.
(David Shepardson, Valerie Insinna and Tim Hepher - Reuters)