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Aviation Sector Occupies Central Role in US-Saudi Relations | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A man stand on top of AN escalator as Boeing 747 airplane of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman arrives at Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport in Jakarta, Indonesia March 1, 2017. Picture taken March 1, 2017. REUTERS/Beawiharta – RTS1120S

Riyadh – The aviation sector played a central role in strategic and commercial relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia.

Since the birth of commercial air travel in the Kingdom in 1945, Boeing Company has established “a strong and long-standing relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the company says on its website.

The partnership in the aviation sector began on February 14, 1945 when US President Franklin D. Roosevelt presented a twin-engine DC-3 Dakota airplane to Saudi King Abdul Aziz Al Saud, according to a report by Boeing.

The event marked both the beginning of the Boeing relationship with Saudi Arabia and the birth of commercial air travel in the Kingdom, the company added.

“Since then, Boeing has developed and expanded relationships with the Saudi civilian and defense sectors as well as with the private sectors,” the report also said.

The company underlined Saudi Arabia’s importance to Boeing, which was reaffirmed in 1982, with the establishment of Boeing Middle East Limited in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, as a 100 percent Boeing-owned commercially registered company, with full commercial contracting and employee sponsorship rights equal to any other Saudi-owned and registered company.

“In 2013, the company was renamed Boeing Saudi Arabia to reflect the broad scope of Boeing activities; today, Boeing Saudi Arabia supports the execution of all Boeing Defense, Space & Security and Boeing Commercial Airplanes programs in Saudi Arabia,” the company said.

It added that in February 2016, the Saudi Arabia Airlines (Saudia) received its first three 787-9s along with a 777-300ER at a high-profile delivery ceremony at Boeing’s site Seattle.

“Over the years Saudia has taken delivery of more than 135 Boeing airplanes including 707, 737, 747, 777, 787, MD-11F, DC-3, DC-4, DC-9 and MD-90 models. It currently operates many different types of Boeing airplanes, including 747-300SP, 777-200ER, 777-300ER and 787-9 Dreamliner,” it stated.