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Saudi royalty celebrates $37B deal with North Charleston visit

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Boeing on Friday celebrated a $37 billion deal to make Dreamliners for Saudi airlines. Guests included Her Royal Highness Princess Reema Bandar Al-Saud, ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United States.

Tony Douglas, CEO of Riyadh Air; Dave Calhoun, president and CEO of The Boeing Co.; Her Royal Highness Princess Reema, ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United States; Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes; and Saudia CEO Capt. Ibrahim Koshy celebrate a deal intended to boost tourism for Saudi Arabia. (Photo/Boeing)Leaders from Saudi carriers Saudia and Riyadh Air were at the North Charleston home of the 787 Dreamliner program to celebrate the purchase of as many as 121 of the Boeing 787s.The deal calls for delivery of 78 of the aircraft with options that could mean 43 additional Dreamliners.

The deal is worth $37 billion, according to Sen. Lindsey Graham, who talked with the Saudi airlines on behalf of Boeing South Carolina and predicted the sale will help relations between the two countries.

“I spent a lot of time with Governor (McMaster) and other people talking to Saudi Arabia about why you should pick Boeing,” Graham said in a speech at the celebration. “It will change the relationship of the United States and Saudi Arabia for the better.  You (Saudi Arabia) will be seen differently in our country because you are creating jobs in my state, in our country.  That makes it easier for me to go visit you.  Because the more we have in common, the more business we do, the safer we all are.”

The ambassador, Capt. Ibrahim Koshy, CEO of Saudia, and Tony Douglas, CEO of Riyadh Air, addressed more than 3,000 Boeing employees and toured the 787 final assembly building.

The fleet orders will be among the five largest commercial orders by value in Boeing’s history, according to the news release. The purchase is part of Saudi Arabia’s strategic Vision 2030, with the goal of serving 330 million passengers and attracting 100 million visitors by 2030.

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Reach Ross Norton at or 864-642-5229.

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