NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Boeing SC campus was bustling Thursday as officials unveiled the inside of the 787-10 Dreamliner and hosted an ambassador to a member of the United Nations.
The Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States, Yousef Al Otaiba, toured Boeing SC for the first time.
Boeing officials said aircraft sales from customers in the UAE support more than a half million jobs in the United States.
"They are our biggest customer on the 777, our biggest customer on the 787 and it's a mince," said V.P. of 787 Operations for Boeing SC David Carbon. "The fact they've ordered 30 787-10s that will be just made here in Charleston… that's a huge thing for us."
For 62 years Boeing has had a relationship with customers in the UAE, and the future looks even brighter.
Boeing officials forecast the Middle East will require 3,310 new airplanes worth an estimated $770 billion through 2035, meaning more money and more jobs.
Al Otaiba and Boeing officials toured several buildings on the Boeing SC campus, including the final assembly building where several 787-9 planes were being outfitted.
Ahead of the Ambassador's visit, Boeing employees signed a poster thanking him and the nations in the UAE for their relationship with Boeing.
"It shows how important the relationship is," Al Otaiba said. "It means that these people have jobs because we are buying airplanes. As long as that continues, we are in a way, supporting job creation in Charleston and many other communities."
Thursday was also the chance for media and the Ambassador to see what the inside of a 787-10 looks like. The new model was unveiled February 17 during President Trump's visit to Boeing SC, and had its first test flight March 31.
According to the Boeing website, the 787-10 is the longest member of the 787 family (224 ft), has increased the technology, long range and passenger experience, and now has "10% better fuel and emissions than the best on offer by the competition and 25% better than the airplane it will replace".
The 787-10 is solely being made at Boeing SC, leading the Ambassador to also speak highly of the work done over the last six years.
"They came in and built the facility, trained the people, created thousands of jobs and I think it's a great story that we get to play a part in," Al Otaiba said. "Not only do we get to buy the aircraft that these people build, but we use it to expand and diversify our economy, our students fly on it, our patients fly on it to come to the U.S. So, from the beginning to the end it's a great story."
The Ambassador also spoke about the Open Skies agreement between the UAE and the US.
Open Skies agreements are bilateral treaties that allow airlines to fly freely between countries without government interference.
The United States has Open Skies agreements with 121 countries, however, President Trump has said the UAE is in violation of their Open Skies agreement saying some of the airlines receive government subsidies.
"During the Obama administration there was a process that ultimately did not confirm there were any subsidies," Al Otaiba said. "I think we'll probably go through something similar and have a conversation with the Trump administration. But again, if we are willing to operate in a free market, with free market rules, we should be welcoming competition, not trying to shut it out. That's what we hope to do."
Several Boeing customers, including Emirates, Etihad Airways, flydubai and Presdential Flight, are located in the United Arab Emirates. Etihad currently has an order with Boeing for 30 787-10 aircrafts.
According to Boeing officials, the value of order by UAE customers over the last 10 years ($150.2 billion) has created or sustained more than 781,000 U.S. jobs.
The UAE is among the nation's top partners for United States aerospace and defense products.