More Than 70 Years of Partnership

Boeing enjoys a strong and long-standing relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The partnership began Feb., 14, 1945, when U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt presented a twin-engine DC-3 Dakota airplane (manufactured by Boeing heritage company Douglas Aircraft) to King Abdulaziz Al Saud. This event marked both the beginning of the Boeing relationship with Saudi Arabia and the birth of commercial air travel in the kingdom. Since then, Boeing has developed and expanded relationships with the Saudi civilian and defense sectors as well as with the private sectors.

The importance of Saudi Arabia to Boeing was reaffirmed in 1982, when the company established Boeing Middle East Limited in the Saudi capital of Riyadh as a 100 percent Boeing-owned, commercially registered company with full commercial contracting and employee sponsorship rights equal to any other Saudi-owned and registered company.

Ahmed Jazzar was appointed president of Boeing Saudi Arabia in July 2005. Jazzar is based in Riyadh and is responsible for coordinating and supporting all business activities and operations in the kingdom, including leading government affairs, developing and implementing Boeing Saudi Arabia’s strategy, maturing Boeing industrial partnerships, implementing corporate citizenship projects, growing the Boeing presence and reinforcing company relationships with customers and other stakeholders.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes

After World War II, Saudi Arabia began using the DC-3 to carry passengers and cargo between the cities of Jeddah, Riyadh and Dhahran. The service proved so successful that King Abdulaziz ordered the purchase of two more DC-3s, launching the kingdom’s aviation sector. The DC-3 was the foundation of Saudi Arabian Airlines.

In 1952, five four-engine Douglas DC-4s were purchased, their greater range permitting operations to Middle Eastern destinations. Ten years later, Saudi Arabian Airlines introduced 720Bs into service — becoming the first airline in the Middle East to operate commercial jet airplanes.

In 1972, the airline received its first five 737-200s, which replaced the DC-9s and DC-3s, making its fleet the most modern in the Middle East, with two 707s, two 720s and five 737-200s. In 1985-86, 10 new Boeing 747-300 Stretched Upper Deck models were delivered and introduced into service. Two years later, new 747-468, 777-268 and MD-11 aircraft were introduced into service.

In 2010-11, Saudia (formerly Saudi Arabian Airlines) ordered 20 777s and eight 787-9 Dreamliner airplanes. A year later, Saudia received the first two 777s, which were 777-300ERs (Extended Range) with a layout of three classes, including first and business class, with new specifications and designs. In 2015, Saudi Airlines Cargo Company received a new 777 aircraft to further expand its global operations, increasing the company’s 777 fleet to 13 aircraft.

In February 2016, the airline received its first three 787-9s, along with a 777-300ER, at a high-profile delivery ceremony in Seattle. Later that year, Boeing delivered 777-300ERs that featured a new interior design.

Over the years, Saudia has taken delivery of most Boeing airplane models, including 707, 737, 747, 777, 787, MD-11F, DC-3, DC-4, DC-9 and MD-90.

The unique Saudi Arabian VIP market launched several Boeing Business Jets (BBJ), including the BBJ 3, BBJ 787-8, BBJ 787-9 and BBJ 747-8. The Saudi VIP market represents about 70 percent of BBJ sales to the Arabian Gulf region. Different Boeing aircraft types in VIP configuration — including 727, 737, 747, 757, 767, 777 and 787 — have been ordered or currently operate in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Also, Aramco Aviation (part of Saudi Aramco) has owned and operated a fleet of 737-300 and, later, 737-700 aircraft for years.

Boeing Defense, Space & Security

The kingdom is an important customer for Boeing military products. The company’s relationship with the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) began in 1978 with the purchase of the kingdom’s initial F-15C/D fleet, which became the backbone of its air defense. After Operation Desert Storm, the RSAF increased its force with an additional purchase of F-15C/Ds, followed by F-15S Strike Eagles, to enhance its capabilities with one of the most advanced multirole platforms in the world.

In December 2011, Saudi Arabia and the United States signed a Foreign Military Sales agreement that included F-15SA fighters, AH-64E Apache attack helicopters, AH-6i light attack/armed reconnaissance helicopters, Harpoon missiles and launchers, and Joint Direct Attack Munitions, along with the associated initial support and training — the largest such agreement in U.S. history.

Other Boeing defense products currently operated in the kingdom include E-3A AWACS aircraft and KC-3A cargo/tankers. In addition, Boeing provides a range of in-kingdom services and support for these products.

Defense, Space & Security reflects Boeing's commitment to the kingdom and strengthens the company’s overall strategy and mission to grow the defense business in Saudi Arabia by employing Saudis while supporting the kingdom’s defense and security needs. Boeing views KSA as a partner with great potential and has made it a priority to invest in its aerospace industry, characterized by evolving and strengthening relationships and partnerships.

Boeing’s Offset Companies

In 1985, Boeing and local partners began a formal program to meet offset obligations by proposing a number of industrial projects to benefit the kingdom. The following four programs were eventually adopted for implementation:

  • Alsalam Aerospace Industries (AAI): A fully integrated aircraft modification, maintenance and repair center for commercial and military aircraft.
  • Advanced Electronics Company (AEC): An advanced-technology company with capabilities in electronic design, development, manufacturing, repair and modification.
  • Aircraft Accessories and Components Company (AACC): A precision engineering facility equipped to service, overhaul and remanufacture aircraft accessories and components to international standards.
  • International Systems Engineering (ISE): A company providing a full range of computer-related software products, systems and services.

Currently, Boeing holds the largest stake at Alsalam and continues to contribute to the expansion of Alsalam’s technical base for both civil and military applications.

Boeing Global Services

Boeing Global Services combines the services capabilities of Boeing Commercial Airplanes and Boeing Defense, Space & Security to provide commercial, space and government customers with uncompromising service solutions worldwide. Specifically, Global Services is focused on bringing innovative services to customers in four capability areas: supply chain; engineering, modifications and maintenance; digital aviation and analytics; and training and professional services. With competitive rates, operational agility and tailored solutions, Global Services provides the best value and customer experience in the aerospace services industry.

Boeing continues to expand its services presence in the Middle East and is committed to growing indigenous capabilities. Currently, more than 2,300 employees and partners provide services support to commercial and government customers throughout the region. The Boeing-Aviall Service Center in the UAE offers sales and customer services support to the commercial airline industry, military customers and business aviation in the Middle East and North Africa. Boeing’s Jeppesen hub, also located in UAE, brings digital aviation expertise to this fast-growing Middle East market. In fact, Boeing estimates that the Middle East will need 3,350 new commercial airplanes, valued at $730 billion, over the next 20 years for fleet renewal and growth. On the defense side, Boeing estimates that the government services market in the Middle East will exceed $90 billion over the next 10 years.

In Saudi Arabia, Global Services provides sustainment solutions to a number of government platforms, including AH-6i, Apache, Chinook and F-15s. The business also provides supply chain; digital aviation; engineering, modifications and maintenance; and training solutions to several airline customers.

Boeing Capital Corporation

Capital Corporation creates financing solutions for customers purchasing Boeing commercial and defense products. As the company’s investment bank, it works closely with third-party financing sources that provide nearly all of the financing support required by Boeing customers. Capital Corporation continually strengthens its presence in the Middle East to meet the high demand for commercial aviation financing. It regularly organizes events in the region designed to engage the finance community. Since 2006, it has hosted annual airline planning seminars for financiers in the Middle East, and its investor conference has become an annual event.