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Sun 13 Nov 2011 08:44 AM

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Rolls-Royce reports $500m Saudi Airlines order

Saudi Arabian Airlines signs deal for engines, support for four Airbus A330 aircraft

Rolls-Royce reports $500m Saudi Airlines order
Rolls Royce said the deal was worth up to $500m

Rolls-Royce has won an engine order worth up to $500m from Saudi Arabian Airlines, the British company said on Sunday.

The deal, announced at the opening of the Dubai Airshow, is to provide engines and support for four Airbus A330 mid-sized aircraft already on order, plus four options.

Sales of the A330 have been boosted by delivery delays of Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner, boosting Rolls-Royce which claims an A330 market share of 75 percent for its Trent 700 engine.

The aircraft is sold with a choice of engines from Rolls-Royce, General Electric and Pratt & Whitney.

The Saudi government has been trying to privatise Saudi Arabian Airlines, one of the largest in the Middle East, for many years. It launched the process in 2006 by dividing up the company into six units, with a view to selling each separately. These include catering, cargo, maintenance, airlines, flight academy and ground handling.

Saudi Airlines Cargo has been privatised, with 30 percent now owned by Tarabut Air Freight Service, while the ground handling services unit was merged last year with National Handling Services and Attar Travel Company.

The airline, which has 137 aircraft in its fleet, said earlier this year it hopes to hold a much-delayed initial public offer of its catering unit estimated to be worth up to $540m by end of 2011.

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