Africa’s largest carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, has secured a loan agreement that will finance two Boeing 777 freighters.
The US$450 million loan also includes financing for three Boeing 737-8s.
The airline states that the loan will be secured against the value of the five planes and has been arranged exclusively by Citi’s Corporate Banking and Export Agency and Finance teams, and is guaranteed by the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM).
The loan is Citi’s largest aircraft financing in Ethiopia within the last decade and will help support both the bank’s bid to increase its footprint in the region, and the airline’s ambition to grow its fleet to over 270 aircraft by 2035.
The five new aircraft will bring Ethiopian Airline’s total fleet size to 150 and delivery of all the aircraft will be completed in the US state of Washington in December.
Mesfin Tasew, Ethiopian Airlines Group chief executive, said: “We are grateful for the mutually beneficial partnership we have established with Citi and look forward to further strengthening it.
“Fleet expansion being one of our strategic growth pillars, we will continue expanding and modernising our fleet size so as to grow our business and reach new markets.”
Akin Dawodu, Citi Sub Saharan Africa head, said: “Citi has been serving Ethiopian Airlines for many decades, and we are pleased to support its growth with financing for five new aircraft.
“A lot of work has gone into getting this deal off the ground, and it is thanks to Citi’s strong relationships and connectivity both within the country and across our global network that we have been able to make it happen.
“Both our Banking and Treasury and Trade Solutions partners were instrumental in the delivery of this deal, and I would like to thank all teams for their collaboration.”
Ethiopian Airlines is one of Africa’s most successful indigenous companies, playing a critical role in the country’s rapid economic growth by promoting tourism, and facilitating import and export of the country.
The airline has created Africa-wide and transcontinental networks flying to 135 international passenger and cargo destinations, including 63 African cities.
On top of the belly hold capacity, Ethiopian Cargo & Logistics Services covers 67 dedicated freighter services deploying 17 freighter aircraft.
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