November 7, 2010 / 4:18 PM / 9 years ago

Saudi Airlines buys Boeing planes

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Saudi Arabian Airlines ordered 12 Boeing 777-300 “Extended Range” (ER) planes for $3.3 billion, in addition to eight 787 Dreamliners, Boeing (BA.N)said on Sunday.

The Saudi national carrier, which is in the process of being privatized, also took out an option for 10 more 777s.

“Our decision to order the 777-300 ER is part of a long-term growth strategy to expand and modernize our fleet with newer, more fuel-efficient airplanes,” said Khaled al-Mulhim, director general of Saudi Arabian Airlines.

The carrier did not give the price for the Dreamliner order.

Saudi Airlines has a fleet of more than 114 planes, including 35 Boeings and 35 Airbus A320s. The new order will raise the number of Boeing 777 planes in the Saudi fleet to 35.

According to the U.S. company’s website, as of November 2, the world’s second-largest commercial plane-maker after Airbus has taken orders for a net total of 48 777s in 2010.

Boeing had orders for 847 787 Dreamliners on its books. It had a net loss of four 787s for 2010 as of November 2.

The long-delayed 787 is nearly three years behind schedule. It is set for first delivery in the first quarter of 2011, but there is industry speculation that another delay for the light-weight carbon composite plane could be announced.

Boeing said on Thursday it took a new order for eight 777s, potentially worth $2.7 billion, from BOC Aviation in the week that ended November 2. At the time, Boeing had taken a net total of 480 commercial airplane orders in 2010, compared with 263 in all of 2009.

Reporting by Helen Chernikoff; additional reporting by Kyle Peterson and Asma Alsharif; Editing by Maureen Bavdek

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