Airlines Sky is the limit for Emirates November 2003 448 Emirates’ massive fleet expansion programme is going ahead full steam. With the delivery of the 29th and last Airbus A330 recently, Emirates has completed the massive $2.6 billion financing programme needed for its fleet. Dermot Mannion, president group support services at Emirates, said: “Our first A330 was delivered more than four years ago, in March 1999. Since then, the aircraft type has proved very popular with customers and extremely efficient to operate.” The money required came from a range of regional and international sources, including conventional export credit agency and commercial asset-backed debt as well as from non-conventional sources such as Islamic funding and equity from Japanese investors. Dermot Mannion added: “We have access to a choice of sophisticated financing structures, which rank with the very best in the industry. Dubai’s ambitions to win its place as a top-class international financial capital with the creation of the Dubai International Financial Centre will bring new financing opportunities in years come.” The airline’s excellence in financing has won it many awards from international financial publications, including Euromoney and Transport Finance. The highlight was the Global Treasury Team 2002 award in New York by leading industry publication, Air Finance Journal.Nearly half the money, some $1.17 billion or 46 per cent, was raised from international financial institutions using export credit agency backed debt. A significant slice, $715 million or 27 per cent, was financed on a commercial debt basis. More than half of this, $446 million, came from Western banks with the balance of $269 million raised from regional banks.Notably some 15 per cent or $386 million was generated using Islamic funding, a new and fast-growing source of finance, allowing Emirates to acquire five of the A330s. Japanese lessors helped to finance seven A330s using a combination of equity and debt. Another three of the 29 Airbuses were financed in Euro and four in UK Pound Sterling.Eighteen A330s were financed using fixed-rate funding and the other 11 on a floating basis.