Etihad secures US $210 million aircraft financing
Etihad Airways has agreed aircraft financing facilities worth more than US $210 million to acquire two new Airbus A340-600 wide-body aircraft to add to its expanding fleet.
The Abu Dhabi-based airline has signed a US $102 million aircraft financing facility with a consortium of regional and international banks to finance the airline’s acquisition of one of the 288-seat aircraft.
The 12-year finance lease was provided in equal shares by three separate banks, led by co-arrangers and lenders Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB), Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe Ltd (SMBC).
It has also mandated a new local bank to raise a further US $110 million under an Islamic financing facility. Al Hilal Bank, a newly established Islamic bank based in Abu Dhabi, will provide a 12-year Islamic finance lease for the purchase of the other A340-600 aircraft.
One of the aircraft has been flying in Etihad’s colours since October 2008 and the other one is due to be delivered in December 2008 to the airline.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ chief executive, said: “These deals have been secured at a time of extreme liquidity stress in the international banking market, and their conclusion in this adverse environment is indicative of the strong relationship between Etihad Airways and the regional and international financial community.
“It is also testament to the growing credibility and confidence Etihad now enjoys among its key business partners. We appreciate the support of like-minded business partners who continue to underpin the present and future growth and development of Etihad Airways.”
Speaking on behalf of the consortium, Jeremy Parish, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, said: "SCB, SMBC and ADCB are delighted to support Etihad's growth with this landmark transaction. We have demonstrated in these troubled times the strength of our relationship with the world's fastest growing airline."
Mohammed Jamil Berro, Al Hilal Bank’s CEO, said: “It is with particular pride that Al Hilal Bank participates in this deal with Etihad Airways. This type of deal underscores the stable nature of our economy and we are quite pleased that our bank was chosen after a rigorous vetting process that ultimately highlighted our commitment and credentials.”
The Etihad fleet presently comprises 39 aircraft and will grow to 42 by the end of the year, with the delivery of the last Airbus A340-600 aircraft in December.
© 2008 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)