Etihad Airways has selected Abu Dhabi-based FGB and The National Commercial Bank (NCB) of Saudi Arabia to provide financing for the purchase of a number of its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, the first of which was on show today at Abu Dhabi International Airport.
The financing from FGB and NCB is provided through Shari’ah-compliant facilities following a request for proposal issued in May this year, which saw high levels of interest from global banks and leasing companies.
FGB and NCB won the mandate for the financing based on very competitive pricing and terms against stiff international competition. Etihad Airways currently has 109 aircraft in its fleet and a further 97 Boeing aircraft on order, including 71 B787s.
James Rigney, Chief Financial Officer of Etihad Airways, said: “The deal with FGB and NCB provides financing that enables us to expand our fleet significantly and deliver an unrivalled product on the new Etihad’s Boeing 787, creating an unmatchable guest experience through our first-of-kind, re-modelled First, Business and Economy Class cabins.
“FGB has been a key financial partner over the years and we are pleased to take this partnership forward. We also welcome NCB on its first direct financing agreement with us as an important new partner and look forward to growing our relationship with them.”
Steven Perry, Head of Debt Markets and Syndications for FGB, said: “FGB has significantly enhanced its aviation financing knowledge and expertise, putting us on par with international investors in this competitive sphere. As one of the leading banks in the UAE, we are thrilled to be working with Etihad Airways to support the continued development of the UAE economy through growing our aviation sector together.”
Yasir AbuSulayman, Head of Structured Finance for NCB said: “NCB is a significant financier in the regional aviation market and is proud to be involved with Etihad Airways for this milestone finance deal. NCB looks forward to growing our relationship with Etihad Airways.”
The Boeing 787-9 will enter into service next year to operate flights between Abu Dhabi and Düsseldorf and between Abu Dhabi and Doha. The Boeing 787-9 will be introduced on six of the airline’s routes from February to June 2015, including Washington D.C., Mumbai, Brisbane and Moscow.