More Than 70 Years of Partnership

Boeing enjoys a strong and long-standing relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The partnership began February 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. Boeing Middle East is 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 has led as president of Boeing Saudi Arabia since 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.

In 2006, Boeing established another Saudi subsidiary, Boeing International Support Systems–Saudi Arabia, and received three different investment licenses in 2010 to expand its operations and execute new projects and business in the Kingdom. In 2013, the company was renamed Boeing Saudi Arabia to reflect the broad scope of Boeing activities. Today, Boeing Saudi Arabia supports the execution of all Boeing Defense, Space & Security, Boeing Commercial Airplanes and Boeing Global Services programs in Saudi Arabia.

In 2017, Boeing and Saudi Arabia further strengthened their partnership when the U.S. at a signing ceremony that included Boeing products and services. They signed several defense and commercial agreements that would create or sustain thousands of jobs in both the United States and Saudi Arabia and enhance national security in the region. Among the announcements:

  • Agreements to purchase Chinook helicopters and associated support services as well as guided weapon systems.
  • Intent to order P-8 maritime, patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, based on the Boeing 737 commercial airplane.
  • A joint venture with Boeing to provide sustainment services for a wide range of military platforms.
  • A commercial registration certificate for the Saudi Rotorcraft Support Company, a newly formed joint venture between Boeing, AAI and SAEI with bases in both Riyadh and Jeddah that provides support for both military and commercial helicopters.
  • An agreement between Boeing and SaudiGulf Airlines to negotiate the sale of up to 16 widebody airplanes.

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.

The unique Saudi Arabian VIP market has launched several Boeing Business Jets (BBJ) and 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.


In 1962, 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. With a fleet of two 707s, two 720s and five 737-200s, its fleet was the most modern in the Middle East. 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, Saudi Arabian Airlines, now called Saudia, ordered 20 777s and 8 787-9 Dreamliners. In January 2012, 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 interior designs. 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.

Saudi Airlines Cargo Company

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.

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.

In May 2017, the kingdom expressed its intent to order P-8 maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft.

In August 2017, the Saudi Arabia Ministry of National Guard took possession of its first AH-6 Little Birds, becoming the first customer to operate the light attack and reconnaissance helicopters.

Also in August, Boeing welcomed Saudi Arabia as its 20th global Chinook operator following a contract award from the U.S. Army to build eight of the heavy-lift helicopters for the kingdom. The contract award is part of a foreign military sale approved by the U.S. State Department in late 2016. Saudi Arabia has requested a total of 48 CH-47F Chinooks.

Boeing 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 electronics 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 supply chain; engineering, modifications and maintenance; digital aviation and analytics; and training and professional services.

Boeing continues to expand its services presence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 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.

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.

Industrial and Academic Partnerships

Boeing actively supports the Saudi industrial sectors. Boeing’s objectives are to

  • Support Saudi plans to develop technological capability.
  • Create jobs.
  • Promote “saudization” (a program to increase employment of Saudi youth).
  • Create and capture new markets.
  • Provide additional support to communities by investing in mathematics, science and literacy programs to prepare students to meet future challenges and enable them to realize their dreams.

Joint ventures

In 2015, Boeing signed an agreement with Saudia Aerospace Engineering Industries (SAEI) and Alsalam Aerospace Industries (AAI) to create the Saudi Rotorcraft Support Company (SRSC). With facilities in Riyadh and Jeddah, SRSC focuses on providing comprehensive maintenance, repair and overhaul support for both Boeing and non-Boeing platforms, including the AH-64 Apache, CH-47 Chinook and AH-6i. SRSC services include:

  • Comprehensive, in-country maintenance and maintenance support.
  • Depot overhaul and repair.
  • Program and supply chain management.
  • Saudi pilot and maintenance team training.

In March 2018, in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and following the announcement of HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz to localize 50 percent of the total military spending by 2030, Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) and Boeing signed a Memorandum of Agreement to develop a new joint venture. The venture will localize more than 55 percent of the manufacturing, repair and overhaul (MRO) services for fixed- and rotary-wing military aircraft in Saudi Arabia and will be the sole provider of these services for all military aviation platforms of the KSA military fleet, strengthening the Kingdom's defense capabilities and enhancing its deterrent potential.

The signing ceremony came in conjunction with HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s historic visit to Seattle, Washington, which included an official visit and tour of Boeing’s aircraft manufacturing facilities.

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.