21 Apr 2013 08:30

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, 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 Ijara Muntahia Bittamleek structure.

The first of these two Boeing aircraft arrived recently at Abu Dhabi airport from Seattle and the second is expected to be delivered to Etihad Airways in May 2013.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, 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.”

The total facility value offered by First Gulf Bank is approximately US$359 million and it has a financing structure term of 12 years. Within the agreement, First Gulf Bank participates as the Initial Lead Arranger, the Underwriter, the Facility Agent and the Security Trustee.

Andre’ Sayegh, First Gulf Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “As one of the leading banks in the United Arab Emirates, we continuously demonstrate our commitment to the nation's economy. Through our strong financial position; 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 2012 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.

About First Gulf Bank
As a major leading bank in the UAE, First Gulf Bank (FGB) had Shareholder Equity of AED 29.9 billion as of December 31st, 2012 making it one of the largest equity based banks in the UAE. Established in 1979 and headquartered in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, the bank offers a full range of financial services to business and consumer sectors throughout an extensive network of branches across the UAE. Internationally FGB has branches in Singapore and Qatar, representative offices in India and Hong Kong and a subsidiary in Libya.

Today, FGB is recognised as a world-class organisation committed to maximising value for shareholders, customers and employees as it focuses on delivering banking products and services that meet client needs and support the UAE’s dynamic economy. In line with its commitment to excellence the bank continues to invest significantly in people and technology to provide superior service standards. First Gulf Bank was awarded the ‘Best Bank in the United Arab Emirates for 2012’ by Euromoney.

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