Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways is borrowing $1.5 billion to finance 16 aircraft, a senior official was quoted as saying.
'On top of this, we are also going to announce the $500 million financing for four A340-600s next month,' Etihad’s executive vice-president for finance James Rigney was quoted as saying by the Gulf News.
The carrier’s revenue is likely to nearly double this year to $1.5 billion from last year's $800 million, he said on the sidelines of the fifth Middle East and Africa Airfinance Conference.
'We will also hold a roadshow for the $225 million finance package for two more A340-600s during the first quarter of next year,' he said. 'Going forward, we will seek roughly another $1 billion to finance a further 12 aircraft.'
He said 52 per cent of Etihad's 37 aircraft have been financed through conventional finance leases, 10 per cent through Islamic finance leases and 14 per cent through operating leases.
In related news, the airline announced it has signed a contract with New York-based CIT Aerospace for the lease of two new Airbus A330-200 aircraft. The two A330-200s, the aircraft which forms the backbone of the Etihad fleet, are scheduled for delivery in January and March 2009 and will replace two aircraft currently leased by Etihad.
Etihad has also launched non-stop flights between Abu Dhabi and Milan thrice a week with an A330-200 aircraft. The three-times-a-week service, which will complement the carrier's existing freighter service launched in May 2005, offers a cargo capacity of 14 tonnes in each direction.
From October 1, Etihad’s Abu Dhabi to Manila service will go daily. The Manila flights, launched in February 2006, have been hugely successful with the UAE’s 200,000-strong Filipino community, and with leisure travellers. Etihad has also signed a code share agreement with Philippine Airlines.
Etihad is also looking to launch new air services to India from its base in Abu Dhabi. Hogan was in India recently meeting Praful Patel, the countrys Minister for Civil Aviation, and senior government officials to press the carrier’s view that there is a burgeoning yet unfulfilled demand for flights between India’s emerging cities and Abu Dhabi.
He said during his visit that the airline’s eight city ‘wishlist’ for new services from Abu Dhabi are, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderarbad, Calicut, Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Jaipur and Kolkata.