Ethiopian Airlines, the largest carrier in Africa, has recently revealed a significant milestone in its growth strategy—an agreement for a USD $450 million loan to fund the acquisition of five new Boeing aircraft. The deal comprises three Boeing 737-8 and two Boeing 777F (Cargo) planes.
Facilitated by Citi’s Corporate Banking and Export Agency and Finance teams, the financing arrangement boasts the backing of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM), providing a guarantee for the transaction. This USD $450 million loan marks Citi’s most substantial aircraft financing in Ethiopia over the past decade.
Ambitious Future Goals
The loan will be secured against the substantial value of the five aircraft, a move expected to fortify Ethiopian Airlines’ position in expanding its fleet size. Mr. Mesfin Tasew, the CEO of Ethiopian Airlines Group, highlighted the strategic significance of fleet expansion in the airline’s growth trajectory. He expressed enthusiasm about the partnership with Citi, stating, “This financing will allow us to expand our fleet size by adding five new aircraft. Fleet expansion being one of our strategic growth pillars, we will continue expanding and modernizing our fleet size so as to grow our business and reach new markets.”
Enduring Partnership Acknowledged
The slated delivery of these aircraft is scheduled to take place in the U.S. state of Washington in December, signaling a significant advancement in Ethiopian Airlines’ aviation capabilities. With an ambitious vision for the future, the airline aims to surpass 270 aircraft in its fleet by 2035. The infusion of three Boeing 737-8 MAXs and two Boeing 777 Freighters from this loan will elevate Ethiopian Airlines’ total fleet to an impressive 150 aircraft.
A Shared Commitment to Growth
Akin Dawodu, Citi Sub Saharan Africa Head, expressed satisfaction with the long-standing partnership between Citi and Ethiopian Airlines. He noted, “Citi has been serving Ethiopian Airlines for many decades, and we are pleased to support its growth with financing for five new aircraft. 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.” The collaborative efforts underline the commitment of both entities to fostering sustainable growth and innovation in the aviation industry.