Boeing has revealed Saudi Arabian Airlines as a previously unannounced customer for 12 Boeing 777-300ERs, with the airline taking options on 10 more.
The order previously was attributed to an unidentified customer on Boeing’s orders and deliveries website. Boeing values the order at $3.3 billion at average list prices.
Saudi Arabian Airlines has also announced an order for eight Boeing 787 Dreamliners for its long haul fleet. The airline has completed an arrangement with Boeing and Kuwait-based leasing company ALAFCO to take over ALAFCO’s orders for the eight Dreamliners.
The 777-300ER is the world’s largest long-range twin-engine jetliner, and is capable of carrying up to 365 passengers up to 7,930 nautical miles (14,685 km). Saudi Arabian currently owns and operates 23 Boeing 777-200ERs.
“Our decision to order the 777-300ER is part of a long-term growth strategy to expand and modernize our fleet with newer, more fuel-efficient airplanes, and is based on the airplane’s proven efficiencies,” says H.E. Eng. Khaled Al-Mulhim, director general of Saudi Arabian Airlines. “We see direct benefit because of the 777-300ER’s improved fuel efficiency, seat-mile costs and the economics of operating a twin-engine airplane over long distances.”
Saudi Arabian Airlines took delivery of its first 777, a 777-200ER in December 1997 and since then has deployed the 777 on a number of short-, medium- and long-haul routes.
“Saudi Arabian Airlines is one of Boeing’s very first customers in the Middle East, with a relationship that goes back several decades,” says Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “In fact, in 1961 Boeing was privileged to have witnessed Saudi Arabia’s entry into the jet age with a Boeing 707 when it became the first in the Middle East to operate a jet airplane. Today’s order is yet another milestone in our relationship and is also a powerful endorsement of the 777, which is one of our most successful airplanes to date.”
The 777-300ER first entered service in May 2004 and through October 2010 251 777-300ERs have been delivered.
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