Saudi Arabian 'committed' to taking 787

Cairo
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Saudi Arabian Airlines insists it is still intending to take the Boeing 787 as part of its fleet-modernisation programme, even though it has recently indicated a planned acquisition of Boeing 777-300ERs.

The airline signalled two years ago that it would take 12 787s, fitted with General Electric GEnx powerplants through a mix of lease and purchase agreements.

But Boeing's order backlog does not feature Saudi Arabian as a customer for the type, and Saudi Arabian states on its Internet site that its fleet modernisation will include 12 777-300ERs.

These aircraft, says the carrier, will be introduced towards the end of 2011. The modernised fleet list does not mention the 787.

But speaking to ATI at the Arab Air Carriers Organization conference in Cairo last week, Saudi Arabian Airlines chief Khalid Al-Molhem said the Jeddah-based flag-carrier was "still committed" to the 787.

The relationship, if any, between the two batches of widebody aircraft has not been disclosed.

Boeing's backlog figures show an order for 12 777-300ERs dated 13 April this year, attributed to an unidentified customer.