U.S. aircraft giant Boeing on Friday said it had agreed deals worth an overall $9.3 billion to sell 50 jets to Nigeria's Green Air and 30 to the Saudi carrier, flyadeal.
The company lauded the Nigeria accord, which includes options for 50 more aircraft, as the largest signed to date in Africa. As with the Saudi deal, the Nigerians are purchasing single-aisle 737 MAX planes. "While flyadeal has been operating new Airbus A320s, the airline says it has selected the 737 MAX for the future," Boeing said in a statement. The firm noted its first deliveries to Saudi Arabia were in 1945, as those DC-3 aircraft "gave birth to commercial air travel in the kingdom." Flyeadeal is a subsidiary of Saudi Arabian Airlines and flies to a range of domestic destinations across the kingdom.
Boeing quoted the director general of Saudi Arabian Airlines, Saleh bin Nasser al-Jasser, as saying, "The demand for air transport services in the domestic market of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has grown exponentially," adding flyadeal had ambitions eventually to "cover new markets outside of Saudi Arabia." The flyadeal is for the 189-seater 737 MAX 8, whose operating costs Boeing said was 8 percent lower than the carrier's current fleet of Airbus A320s. If all the purchase options are exercised, the two deals unveiled Friday will be worth around $17.6 billion at list prices. Green Airways owner Babawande Afolabi said the Nigerian end of the deal was a strong sign of growing African entrepreneurial dynamism and resilience.
Boeing saw that deal as a step towards construction of a "solid" Pan-African network, adding the Africa aviation sector has "exceptional" potential. Since launching the 737 MAX, Boeing said it has received more than 4,800 orders from more than 100 customers worldwide.