Murray: Clinton Secured Saudi Order For Boeing, McDonnell Douglas
SEATTLE (AP) _ Boeing Co. and McDonnell Douglas Corp. will share a $6 billion aircraft order from Saudi Arabia, thanks to a personal appeal by President Clinton to Saudi King Fahd, Sen. Patty Murray says.
Boeing and McDonnell Douglas were competing for the order with the European aircraft consortium Airbus Industrie.
Murray said that the president spoke with the king on behalf of the U.S. companies and that Clinton told her that Saudia, Saudi Arabia’s national airline, had decided to give the order to Boeing and McDonnell Douglas.
Murray, a Democrat from Washington state, said Wednesday she did not know how the order would be split, but unidentified congressional sources told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that Boeing would get most of the order.
The order is believed to be for 59 jets: six jumbo jets, 24 medium-range and 29 short-range jets, the newspaper reported Thursday, citing the sources.
Saudia has been in discussions with Boeing for orders of up to 60 jets and options for 20 more.
Neither aircraft maker would immediately confirm the order. Spokesmen said it was up to the customer to make the announcement first.
Word of the order comes less than a week after the U.S. Export-Import Bank approved a preliminary commitment of as much as $6.2 billion in loan guarantees for the sale of up to 80 Boeing jets to Saudi Arabia.
Boeing controls about 60 percent of the world commercial aircraft market, Airbus about 35 percent and McDonnell Douglas less than 5 percent.
French President Francois Mitterand has lobbied on behalf of Airbus for the Saudi business.