Amid ongoing revenue difficulties for GE Aviation, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (US Exim) has moved to support exports from the firm to Turkish Airlines.

As part of the deal, approved by the bank’s board last week, US Exim has agreed to cover a US$54.9mn loan from BNP Paribas to Turkish Airlines.

A US Exim spokesperson tells GTR that the deal will support the purchase of GE aircraft engines by the airline and the export credit agency (ECA) will provide a 100% guarantee with an eight-year tenor.

US Exim notes in a statement that the transaction will support an estimated 300 jobs at GE Aviation’s manufacturing facility in Ohio, as well as related components assembly in Indiana and North Carolina.

“Exim’s support fills the gap in aviation finance that has widened during the Covid-19 pandemic. The loan would not have been available in the private sector without Exim’s guarantee, which will enable the deliveries of the GE engines to be completed in 2021,” the bank adds.

Speaking about the transaction, US Exim board member Judith Pryor says: “This is what we do. We provide help in a financial crisis to assist America’s exporters and their workers when the private sector cannot or will not offer financing without our support.”

GE has been hit hard by the damage wrought by the pandemic on global travel in the past 14 months.

The company said in its Q1 2021 results that aviation revenues had fallen by 28% year on year to US$4.99bn, while orders fell 26% “amid ongoing pandemic-related challenges”.

Data from Aviation tracking site FlightRadar show that commercial airline flights plunged by nearly 42% for the whole of last year, from levels seen in 2019.

Amid this backdrop, and with certain airlines struggling for cash, Bertrand Dehouck, head of aviation for Emea at BNP Paribas, told GTR last year that export financing could become a way for airlines and lessors to gain financing.