By Arab News
By Aisha Fareed
As US-Saudi business ties come into focus this week, there is one American company that has more experience than most in doing business with the Kingdom: Boeing.
The world’s largest aerospace company — which makes commercial jetliners as well as defense, space and security systems — has a longstanding relationship with the Kingdom, dating back to a meeting with the founder of Saudi Arabia himself.
The partnership began on Feb. 14, 1945, when US President Franklin D. Roosevelt presented Saudi Arabia’s founder King Abdul Aziz with a twin-engine DC-3 Dakota airplane manufactured by Boeing heritage company Douglas Aircraft — an event that also marked the birth of commercial air travel in the Kingdom.
So Boeing knows how to make business deals with the Kingdom fly — something many other US companies will be looking to do in New York this week, where a series of top-level corporate meetings will be held during the ongoing visit to the States by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The US aerospace company established Boeing Middle East Limited in Riyadh in 1982 as a 100 percent company-owned entity — and sees its relationship with Saudi Arabia enduring through a time of rapid change for the Kingdom.
“Saudi Arabia is a strategic partner for Boeing. Our goal is to facilitate both local and international industrial collaborations in the Kingdom,” Ahmed Jazzar, president of Boeing Saudi Arabia and vice president of Boeing International, told Arab News.
Jazzar, who is based in Riyadh, said the US company sees a role in helping realize the ambitious aims of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan.
“Boeing’s partnership with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 aims to support the country’s aerospace industry and its ecosystem, through the transfer of knowledge and technology which is a pillar that must be achieved for the Kingdom under the Vision,” he said.
“Boeing’s relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia extends back over 70 years, and with the Vision 2030 roadmap, Boeing will be here every step of the way until the vision is realized.”
Today, Boeing Saudi Arabia Limited supports the execution of all Boeing Defense, Space & Security, Boeing Commercial Airplanes and Boeing Global Service programs in Saudi Arabia.