Boeing sells 78 Dreamliner aircraft to Saudi Airlines

Boeing and Riyadh Air CEOs smash Dreamliner plane mega deal

Boeing said on Tuesday it has reached an agreement to sell 78 of its 787 Dreamliner aircraft to two Saudi airlines, the latest major order for the widebody jets in recent months.

The planes will go to Saudi Arabian Airlines or Saudia and a new airline called Riyadh Air, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced over the weekend. Saudia ordered 39 of the aircraft with options for 10 more, and Riyadh Air will receive 39 of the two largest models of the aircraft with options for 33 more.

Boeing did not announce a schedule for delivering the planes. The White House said the order was worth nearly $37 billion, although that figure doesn’t take into account rebates airlines typically receive, particularly for large orders.

“This will support the country’s goal of serving 330 million passengers and attracting 100 million visitors by 2030,” Riyadh Air said in a press release.

An employee works on the tail of a Boeing Co. Dreamliner 787 airplane on the production line at the company’s final assembly facility in North Charleston, South Carolina.

Travis Dove | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The sale shows rising demand for widebody jets, aircraft used for long-haul flights that command a higher price than the more common narrow-body jets.

Riyadh Air is owned by the country’s sovereign wealth fund and is led by CEO Tony Douglas, a longtime industry veteran and former CEO of Etihad Airways.

“The ambition here in the kingdom is huge,” Douglas said in an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.” “There will be more [aircraft] Orders to eliminate any doubt.”

He said the order will help Saudi Arabia establish connections with 100 destinations.

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

Boeing will resume deliveries of its Dreamliner aircraft this week after a week-long hiatus due to a data analysis issue announced last month. CEO Dave Calhoun told CNBC on Tuesday that resuming deliveries is “imminent.”

Boeing shares rose 1.9% on Tuesday, slightly outperforming the broader market.

The company later said Tuesday it delivered 28 aircraft in February, 24 of which were 737 Max aircraft, up from 22 total deliveries a year earlier.

Correction: Boeing said Tuesday it delivered 28 planes in February. The company misidentified an earlier version.

How the pandemic has changed the way Boeing and airlines think about air cargo Boeing sells 78 Dreamliner aircraft to Saudi Airlines

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