Boeing has traded nearly 78 Dreamliner aircraft to Saudi airlines

March 15, 2023: On Tuesday, Boeing said that it had reached a deal to trade 78 of its 787 Dreamliner planes to two Saudi airlines, the most significant large order for the wide-body planes in the previous few months.

The jetliners will go to Saudi Arabian Airlines, or Saudia, and a recent airline, called Riyadh Air, which Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stated over the weekend. Saudia ordered 39 planes, with options for ten more, and Riyadh Air will get 39 of the two most prominent aircraft models, with options for 33 more.

Boeing did not disclose a timeline for the deliveries of the planes. The White House said the order is worth almost $37 billion, although that figure does not take discounts that airlines usually get, especially for significant orders, into account.

“This will help the country’s goal of serving 330 million passengers and drawing 100 million visits by 2030,” Riyadh Air stated in a news release.

The sale shows a pickup in demand for wide-body aircraft, which are used for long-distance flights and fetch a higher cost than the more-common narrow-body jets.

Riyadh Air owns by the sovereign wealth fund of the country and will be helmed by Tony Douglas as CEO, a longtime industry veteran and retired CEO of Etihad Airways.

“The ambition here in the kingdom is significant,” Douglas said in an interview. “There will be more [aircraft] orders to avoid doubt.”

He said the order would help Saudi Arabia connect to 100 destinations.

In December, United Airlines agreed to buy at least 100 Dreamliners from Boeing, and in the previous month, Air India placed an order for 460 Boeing and Airbus planes.

Boeing is ready to resume deliveries of the Dreamliner planes this week after a long pause resulting from a data analysis issue disclosed last month. On Tuesday, CEO Dave Calhoun told CNBC that the delivery resumption is “imminent.”

On Tuesday, Boeing shares were up about 4%, outpacing the broader market.

On Tuesday, the company said it delivered 28 planes in February, 24 of them 737 Max aircraft, up from 22 total deliveries a year earlier.

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