Etihad gets $359m financing for two Boeing planes

UAE carrier receives one aircraft, with second being delivered in May as part of First Gulf Bank deal

Etihad Airways said on Sunday that it has taken delivery of its first aircraft to be financed by a local UAE bank since 2008.

Abu Dhabi-based First Gulf Bank has provided the finance for two Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, to be delivered to Etihad Airways in 2013, through a Sharia-compliant structure, the airline said in a statement.

The first of the two Boeing aircraft arrived recently at Abu Dhabi airport from Seattle and the second is expected to be delivered to Etihad Airways in May, the carrier added.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways' president and CEO, said: "The strong financial structure and performance of Etihad Airways ensures that the airline regularly attracts funding from banks and institutions from around the world, as well as from across the Gulf region."

"The financing of these two aircraft is an important development as it shows First Gulf Bank's support of Etihad Airways' fleet expansion as well as our commitment to working as much as possible with local UAE and Middle East-based banks," he added.

The total facility value offered by First Gulf Bank is approximately $359m and it has a financing structure term of 12 years.

Andre' Sayegh, First Gulf Bank's CEO, said: "We are proud to support Etihad Airways as they expand their international reach and contribute to the UAE's economic progress.

"We will continue to support businesses across the country and the region in our efforts to support development that maintains and bolsters the region's growing role in the global economy."

Etihad Airways issued a request for proposal (RFP) in September for the financing of nine aircraft scheduled for delivery in 2013.

The RFP received a positive response from a large number of international banks, financial institutions and operating lessors.

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