What happened

Two Saudi Arabian airlines announced a combined order of up to 123 Boeing (BA 1.34%) aircraft, which at list prices would be worth about $37 billion. Investors are celebrating the news, sending shares of Boeing up more than 5% on Tuesday.

So what

The order, which has been the subject of speculation for weeks, includes a minimum of 39 787 Dreamliners apiece for Saudia, Saudi Arabia's flag carrier, and a government-backed newcomer called Riyadh Air. The Riyadh Air order includes options for 33 more jets; Saudia's order includes options for 10 more planes.

The order is part of Saudi Arabia's effort to push tourism in the region. Currently, international travel to and from the Gulf States is handled mostly by non-Saudi airlines.

"Saudia continues its expansion efforts in all aspects of the airline; whether it's introducing new destinations or increasing the aircraft fleet," Ibrahim Al-Omar, director general of Saudia Group, said in a statement. "The agreement with Boeing delivers on this commitment and the newly added aircraft will further enable Saudia to fulfill its strategic objective of bringing the world to the Kingdom."

Now what

Large orders like this one almost never are signed at list price, so the exact revenue benefit for Boeing is hard to state for sure. But it is a massive symbolic win for the troubled aerospace giant. Boeing and archrival Airbus have reportedly been wrangling over this deal for months.

Boeing has struggled with the Dreamliner program of late. Deliveries were suspended for months while the company worked on a deal with regulators about inspections and how to deal with potential structural integrity issues. It is one of a number of programs that have caused issues for Boeing, with the 737 MAX troubles capturing most of the headlines.

Boeing's job now is to convince the world that its troubles are behind it, and the once-proud manufacturing titan is once again ready to soar to new heights. One order, no matter how large, is not going to do that, but Saudi's big Boeing deal is a definite step in the right direction.