Arab News, Wednesday, Mar 15, 2023 | Sha'ban 23, 1444
Saudi Arabia and Boeing strike $37bn deal for 121 aircraft
Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia has agreed
a $37 billion deal with US firm Boeing which will see the company manufacture up
to 121 aircraft to help get the Kingdom's new airline off the ground.
The deal will see Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes
with General Electric engines delivered to Saudi Arabia, with 72 of
them set for Riyadh Air – the carrier announced by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed
bin Salman on Sunday.
Some 39 of the planes are confirmed for the new
airline, which has an option to acquire 33 more.
Riyadh Air is wholly owned by the Public
Investment Fund, and its governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan – also chairman of the
carrier – said: “This is a momentous day for PIF and Riyadh Air, and highlights
our determination to significantly extend Saudi Arabia’s connectivity with the
"Our stated commitment is to create a world-class
airline and this partnership with Boeing in building the fleet is the next step
in achieving the aspirations of Saudi Arabia as a global transportation hub.
"We look forward to fostering strong strategic
relationships within the wider aviation ecosystem as we continue to shape the
new airline to become one of the leading carriers around the world.”
Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial
Airplanes, welcomed the “significant order", adding: "We are incredibly proud of
our nearly eight decades of partnership to drive innovation and sustainable
growth in Saudi Arabia’s aviation sector. Our agreement builds on that
longstanding partnership and will further expand access to safe and sustainable
commercial air travel for decades more.”
Riyadh Air is set to make the Saudi capital a
gateway to the world and a global destination for transportation, trade, and
tourism, according to a statement from the Saudi Press Agency.
Using the Saudi capital as its hub, the airline is
expected to add $20 billion to the Kingdom’s non-oil gross domestic product
growth and create more than 200,000 direct and indirect jobs.
According to a statement from White House Press
Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, talks between Boeing and Saudi Arabia had been
ongoing for years, culminating with "intensive negotiations over recent months".
She said: "Today’s announcement ensures that
Boeing and General Electric will anchor Saudi Arabia’s new international airline
together with support for a new international airport.
"This partnership is another milestone in eight
decades of cooperation between Saudi Arabia and American industry. Our
administration looks forward to working with Saudi Arabia and all partners in
the Middle East to support a more prosperous, secure, and integrated region,
which ultimately benefits the American people."
Tony Douglas, CEO of Riyadh Air, described the new
airline as reflecting "the ambitious vision of Saudi Arabia to be at the core of
shaping the future of global air travel".
He added: "By positioning the airline as both a
global connector and a vehicle to drive tourist and business travel to Saudi
Arabia, our new 787-9 airplanes will serve as a foundation for our worldwide
operations, as we build the wider network and connect our guests to Saudi Arabia
and many destinations around the world."
The launch of Riyadh Air is part of PIF’s plan to
utilize the capabilities of promising industries and help the Kingdom achieve
its goal of economic diversification. The sovereign fund has more than $600
billion in assets and is the main driver of the Kingdom’s efforts to wean itself
Last November officials announced plans for a new
airport in the capital Riyadh — spanning 57 sq. km — that is set to accommodate
120 million travelers per year by 2030 and 185 million travelers by 2050.
The capacity of the existing Riyadh airport is
around 35 million travelers.