Saudi Arabian carriers commit to 121 new long-haul aircraft


Increase in fleets will support country’s goal of attracting 100 million visitors a year by 2030

Saudi Arabian carriers plan to buy up to 121 Boeing 787 Dreamliners in what will be the fifth largest commercial order by value in the US plane maker’s history. 

This will support the country’s goal of serving 330 million passengers and attracting 100 million visitors a year by 2030.

National flag carrier Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) will double its long-haul fleet with up to new 49 Dreamliners to expand its global operations. Start-up Riyadh Air is to purchase 39 long range Boeing 787-9s with options for a further 33.

The total value of the twin orders was not disclosed but will amount to billions of dollars.


Owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), Riyadh Air is headed by former Etihad Airways boss Tony Douglas.

Ex-Ryanair and EasyJet chief operating officer Peter Bellew has been confirmed in an identical role at the new airline.

Douglas said: “The new airline reflects the ambitious vision of Saudi Arabia to be at the core of shaping the future of global air travel and be a true disrupter in terms of customer experience.

“Riyadh Air’s commitment to its customers will see the integration of digital innovation and authentic Saudi hospitality to deliver a seamless travel experience. 

“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.”

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Saudia director general Ibrahim Al-Omar said: “Saudia continues its expansion efforts in all aspects of the airline, whether it’s introducing new destinations or increasing the aircraft fleet. 

“The agreement with Boeing delivers on this commitment and the newly added aircraft will further enable Saudia to fulfil its strategic objective of bringing the world to the Kingdom.”

Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief executive Stan Deal said: “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.”

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