Turkish Airlines eyes $500m lease deal

Turkish Airlines CEO Temel Kotil.

Turkish Airlines CEO Temel Kotil.

Turkish Airlines is in talks with banks about a leasing arrangement worth around US$500m to help fund its plane orders from 2014, bankers familiar with the negotiations said yesterday.

The airline is considering using Enhanced Equipment Trust Certificates (EETCs) for the first time - financial securities issued by banks under which the airline gets ownership of the planes when the certificates mature, the bankers said.

Turkish Airlines was also considering issuing sukuk - Islamic bonds - or eurobonds next year to finance its aircraft acquisition plans from 2014, they said.

Officials at the airline could not be reached for comment.

“Turkish Airlines is seeking various financing opportunities abroad. Sukuk or eurobond issuances might be also on the agenda, but EETC is outweighing them, which would be used for the first time for financing aircraft orders,” said one banker.

“Turkish Airlines’ borrowing would not be small in size, around at least US$300m-US$500m for each transaction.”

Turkish Airlines said last month it had decided to buy 15 Boeing B777-300ERs by 2017, with an option to buy five more, and 15 Airbus A330-300 planes between 2014-2016.  

EETC transactions, effectively a form of secured debt financing like mortgages, are often used by airlines in Europe and the United States, but are rarer elsewhere.

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