Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) has ordered 12 Boeing 777 aircraft at a value of $3.3bn.

The deal also includes the option to buy 10 more of the same aircraft in the future. Saudi Arabian Airlines also announced an order for eight Boeing 787 Dreamliners that will join its long-haul fleet.

“Our decision to order the 777-300ER is part of a long-term growth strategy to expand and modernise our fleet with newer, more fuel-efficient airplanes,” says Khalid al-Molhem, director general of the airline.

The Boeing 777 jet is more fuel-efficient and is therefore more economical to operate over long distances.Saudia took delivery of its first Boeing 777 plane in December 1997. With the new order, it will have a fleet of 35 Boeing 777s.

In August, the airline said it was close to completing a SR7.2bn ($1.9bn) Islamic loan deal to fund the purchase of new aircraft (MEED 19:8:10).

The deal will be used to fund the purchase of 70 planes, split between 58 manufactured by Europe’s Airbus and 12 by the US’ Boeing. Delivery of the planes will be spread over several years, with the final aircraft set to be received in 2014.