Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Gulf airlines close financing deals for 16 aircraft

Nov 19 (Reuters) - Gulf-based airlines have closed financing agreements for a total of 16 Boeing and Airbus aircraft, according to statements from the carriers and banks involved.

The region's airlines are securing funds as they take delivery of what Boeing has forecast to be a need for 2,610 aircraft by 2033, valued at $550 billion.

Dubai's Emirates airline has signed a 1.1 billion dirham ($299.5 million) financing deal with a group of banks for the purchase of two Boeing planes.

First Gulf Bank, the third-largest lender by assets in the United Arab Emirates, led the club finance lease package on behalf of Emirates for the two 777-300ER aircraft, the bank said in a statement.

Separately, Dubai Islamic Bank and Air Arabia said they had signed a $230 million Islamic financing deal to cover the purchase of six new Airbus A320 aircraft in 2015 by the budget airline.

The Ijara-structured facility will pay for the delivery of a new aircraft every two months from January. The Sharjah-based low cost carrier had received 29 of the 44 A320s it ordered from Airbus in 2007, the joint statement said.

Ijara is a leasing arrangement commonly used to structure Islamic financing facilities.

The deals follow Qatar Airways closing a sale and operating leaseback transaction with Standard Chartered for three 777-300ER and five 787-8 aircraft. It was the first sale and leaseback transaction entered into by the Qatari flag carrier, according to local press reports on Tuesday.

Emirates and Qatar are among the fastest-growing airlines in the world. In July, Emirates finalized a $56 billion to buy 150 777X jets, while Qatar ordered 50 of the aircraft.

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