Boeing (NYSE: BA) reached a major milestone with Saudi Arabian Airlines when it delivered the airline's first two 777-300ERs (extended range), marking another step forward in Boeing's historic and enduring relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
At the delivery ceremony, Saudi Arabian Airlines also announced an order for eight 777-300ERs valued at $2.4 billion at current list prices. This order was previously accounted for on Boeing's Orders and Deliveries website in 2011.
"The new order reiterates our confidence in the 777 which has justifiably earned a reputation for its improved fuel efficiency, reliability and passenger comfort," said H.E. Eng. Khaled Al-Mulhim, director general of Saudi Arabian Airlines. "With the ongoing growth of business and industry in Saudi Arabia, demand in domestic, regional and international travel is also increasing rapidly and the 777-300ER will play a significant role in our long-term strategy growth to expand and modernize our fleet with newer, more fuel-efficient airplanes."
The partnership between Boeing and Saudi Arabia dates back to 1945 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt presented a DC-3 Dakota airplane to King Abdulaziz Al-Saud, the founder of the Kingdom. Saudi Arabian Airlines took delivery of its first 777, a 777-200ER, in December 1997 and currently owns and operates 23 Boeing 777-200ERs.
"We are grateful for the confidence Saudi Arabian Airlines has placed in the 777 and in Boeing," said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "We will continue working closely with the airline to provide the best commercial aircraft and services to support its plans for growth, and we look forward to strengthening our partnership with Saudi Arabia by supporting the Kingdom's goals for technology development and education."
The 777-300ER extends the 777 family's span of capabilities, bringing twin-engine efficiency and reliability to the long-range market. The airplane carries passengers up to 7,930 nautical miles (14,685 km).The 777-300ER offers airlines additional flexibility in serving the nonstop routes that passengers demand. Boeing incorporated several performance enhancements for the 777-300ER, extending its range and payload capabilities. Excellent performance during flight testing, combined with engine efficiency improvements and design changes that reduce drag and airplane weight, contributed to the increased capability.