Boeing is eyeing up a major deal to sell 150 of its 737 Max jetliners to the Saudi Arabian airline Riyadh Air, according to reports published on Sunday.
According to Bloomberg, the newly-launched startup Riyadh Air is looking to obtain 300 to 400 single-aisle jets from Boeing, but sources say the talks remain complicated and are still in flux.
The agreement would mark the US-plane maker’s second major deal in Saudi Arabia this year.
In March, the two state-owned Riyadh Air and Saudi Arabian Airlines ordered 78 787 Dreamliners from Boeing, representing the fifth biggest order in the Virginia-based company’s history.
It followed just a week after the official unveiling of Riyadh Air by the country’s ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who is looking to boost the country’s tourism sector.
According to Bloomberg’s sources, Boeing is looking to press its advantage on long-term rival Airbus, which has few available delivery slots for its A321neo jets before 2029. The report said Airbus could still claim a portion of the order from Riyadh Air.
Last month, Boeing announced plans to accelerate 737 Max production, after manufacturing issues had led to delivery delays.
The company declined to comment on today’s deal.
Speculation over Boeing’s latest lucrative deal comes amid an uplift for the UK’s aircraft export market, of which Boeing is a large part having made direct investments of over £300m in the UK since 2015.
Figures from the ADS Group released this morning show that the UK has seen 337 global aircraft deliveries in the first four months of this year, the highest since before the pandemic.
The ADS Group’s latest data shows that total exports from the aerospace sector were worth £18.6bn in 2022 and generated £27bn in turnover.
The sector currently employs 108,000 people in the UK.