Riyadh Air, the new Saudi Arabian carrier, said it would purchase 39 Boeing 787-9s, with options for an additional 33 of the same aircraft.

The new airline, Riyadh Air, was announced earlier this week by the country’s crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz. It initially will operate in Asia, Africa and Europe, with Riyadh as its hub, according to a statement. A new airport is planned for the city. The country also owns Saudia, formerly known as Saudi Arabia Airlines, with its main base at Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport.

Former Etihad Airways chief Tony Douglas is CEO of the new carrier, which is owned by the country’s sovereign-wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, of which the crown prince is chairman. The carrier’s chairman is Yasir al-Rumayyan, governor of the Public Investment Fund.

The Boeing agreement is part of Saudi Arabia’s wider strategic plan to transform the country into a global aviation hub, according to the statement. In total, Saudi Arabian carriers announced their intent to purchase up to 121 Boeing 787 Dreamliners in what will be the fifth largest commercial order by value in Boeing’s history. This will support the country’s goal of serving 330 million passengers and attracting 100 million visitors annually by 2030.

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Douglas said the new airline “reflects the ambitious vision of Saudi Arabia to be at the core of shaping the future of global air travel and be a true disrupter in terms of customer experience.”

Image: Courtesy of Boeing