Boeing sells 78 Dreamliner planes to Saudi airlines

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An employee works on the tail of a Boeing Co. Dreamliner 787 plane on the production line at the company’s final assembly facility in North Charleston, South Carolina.
Travis Dove | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Boeing said Tuesday that it has reached a deal to sell 78 of its 787 Dreamliner planes to two Saudi Arabian airlines, the latest large order for the wide-body jets in the past few months.

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

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Boeing did not disclose a timeline for deliveries of the planes.

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

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

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

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 is set to resume deliveries of the Dreamliner planes this week after a weekslong pause resulting from a data analysis issue it disclosed last month.

Boeing shares were up close to 2% in morning trading, slightly outpacing the broader market.

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