Etihad sells 38 aircraft for $1 billion
Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways has sold 38 aircraft worth $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion) to global investment firm KKR and aviation finance firm, Altavair AirFinance, in order to improve its finances.
Etihad is selling Boeing 777-300ERs and Trent powered Airbus A330-300s and A330-200s aircraft. Under the deal, 777-300ERs will be leased back to Etihad upon purchase in early 2020, while the A330s will be delivered over the next 22 months and placed on lease with other international operators for either passenger operations or converted as freighters.
"As Etihad moves into the third year of its transformation programme, we have partnered with KKR and Altavair AirFinance, allowing us to take a further positive step forward in the optimisation of our fleet. The deal offers us flexibility while ensuring we stand by our sustainability targets, and maintain a fleet of the most fuel-efficient, technologically-advanced aircraft," an Etihad spokesperson said in a statement.
Tony Douglas, group CEO of Etihad Aviation Group, said that the deal will ensure that the airline stands by its strategic and financial sustainability targets by replacing aircraft with the most technologically-advanced and fuel-efficient fleet types. "The structure of this transaction also provides us with significant flexibility, meaning we are well placed to respond to future growth requirements."
Saj Ahmad, chief analyst at StrategicAero Research, said the sale of 777-300ERs and a small contingent of A330s will allow Etihad to bolster its case position which is critical at a time when the airline is keen to curtail expenditure and rein in costs. "The 777s will have significant market traction and value and in offloading them will enable the airline to both be flexible in leasing them back and also make better use of its 787 fleets too as they continue to induct the 787-9 and 787-10 variants."
The airline had posted a loss of $1.28 billion in 2018 - the third consecutive year of loss.
Dan Pietrzak and Brandon Freiman, partners at KKR, said that they will be working with Etihad Airways, not only in Abu Dhabi, but across the globe.
Steve Rimmer CEO of Altavair, said the partnership with Etihad will play a major role in the repositioning the fleet.
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