National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) and Etihad Airways, UAE national airline, have signed the terms of a US$ 288 million (AED 1.05 billion) loan agreement that will be used to finance the airline’s acquisition of four new Airbus 330-200 aircraft.
NBAD, as a sole arranger, will provide financing of the loan facility which is structured as a lease with repayment spread over 12 years. NBAD, the UAE’s largest bank by assets, expects to syndicate the financing facility during the first quarter of 2008 through successful partnerships with local and international banks.
All four aircraft have been received by Etihad and are in service. The first of the four A330-200 aircraft was delivered by Airbus in June 2007, followed by the second and third aircraft in September and the fourth in mid-October 2007.
Michael Tomalin, NBAD’s chief executive said: “NBAD is proud for entirely underwriting in full this important transaction and playing a major role in Etihad’s continued growth in fleet size which also demonstrates strengthening of ties between the UAE’s top lender and the national airline of the UAE.”
“Etihad Airways has proven its mettle within a short span of time to become a leading name in the aviation industry and NBAD looks forward to assist Etihad with its substantial investment programme and strengthen the relationship in order to play a significant role in the economic development of the nation.”
James Hogan, chief executive, Etihad Airways, said: “These are exciting times for Etihad as the airline continues to grow and establish itself on the global stage. It is extremely gratifying that a leading bank such as NBAD shares our vision and we very much value and recognise the considerable support it is providing in underpinning our development and future success.”
Saif Al Shehhi, senior general manager, domestic banking division said: “This agreement is an additional evidence of the strong relationship between NBAD and well established companies like Etihad Airways. We appreciate our business partners who continue to strengthen the development of the UAE’s aviation and tourism sector.”
“We are happy to be associated with the national carrier of the UAE by smoothing the progress of their expansion’s plans.”
“NBAD’s outstanding loans for the transport sector increased to AED 2.46 billion in 2006 compared to AED 1.77 billion in 2005. This shows “the number one bank in the UAE” strives to be on pace with the development of the country and finance various sectors to diversify further the UAE economy.”
The Etihad Airways wide body passenger fleet presently comprises 29 aircraft and will grow to 31 by the end of the year, with the airline taking delivery of a further two Airbus A340-600 aircraft. The narrow body fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft is set to grow to six aircraft by the end of 2007.
The airline will take delivery of four A340-600s, five A330 passenger aircraft and three A330 freighters between 2008 and 2011, to bring its wide body fleet complement to 43 aircraft by 2011. Further Airbus A320 and A319 arrivals will take the narrow body fleet to a total of 10 aircraft by early 2009.