By Andy Sambidge
Carrier says it will take delivery of two more aircraft by year-end in Ex-Im Bank deal
flydubai, Dubai's low-cost airline, has taken delivery of the first of three Boeing 737-800NG aircraft financed through a $117.5m loan deal with the Export-Import Bank of the United States.
Its arrival takes flydubai's fleet size to 26 aircraft in operation and the next two aircraft will arrive in November and December, the carrier said in a statement.
flydubai's CEO, Ghaith Al Ghaith, said: "This landmark agreement with Ex-Im Bank is further proof of flydubai's continued achievements.
"The Ex-Im Bank agreement, as important as it is, ultimately represents just another step on our journey. I can also state with conviction that as we grow we remain absolutely committed to delivering an experience defined by affordable fares across our network and giving our customers as much choice as possible."
flydubai has added seven new routes this year - Bucharest, Sana'a, Basra, Najaf, Bishkek, Taif and Skopje - with Tabuk, Saudi Arabia set to launch in November.
In addition to these new routes, there has been a 41 percent increase in the number of flights across the network between August 2011 and August of this year.
flydubai has financed its fleet primarily through sale and leaseback agreements and market appetite for similar funding remains strong, he added.
Ex-Im Bank said it is guaranteeing a 12-year loan from the Private Export Funding Corp. It is the Bank's first authorisation supporting aircraft exports to Dubai's low-cost carrier.
flydubai operates a route network of more than 45 destinations across the Middle East, North Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Asia, and Central and Eastern Europe.
At the end of the 2011 budget year, Ex-Im had about $3.7bn of credit exposure in the UAE.