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December 11, 2009

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Emirates airline secures cash for A380s

EMIRATES airline said yesterday it plans to receive its sixth Airbus A380 "superjumbo" next week and another before year's end after lining up more than US$1 billion in financing.

The funding deal comes as other Dubai state-run companies are under increasing scrutiny over their willingness to pay back more than US$80 billion in debt. Emirates, the Mideast's biggest airline and the world's top buyer of the A380, is fully owned by the city-state.

Emirates President Tim Clark said the carrier remains financially secure despite concerns over the health of other Dubai state borrowers.

"We have never encountered difficulties in obtaining finance for our aircraft acquisition program, with both international and regional banks comfortable with our financial stability," he said.

The carrier, he said, "has always honored its financial commitments" and is pressing ahead with its growth plans.

Emirates said it received a total of US$1.13 billion in financing for six A380s from Citigroup Inc and Doric Asset Finance. The funds will be used to pay for planes being delivered this year and next.

Toulouse, France-based Airbus' most recent price list shows A380s sell for an average of US$327.4 million.

Emirates presently operates five A380s and has another 53 on order.


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