The US Export-Import Bank (US Exim) is guaranteeing a US$22.4mn loan provided by New York’s Apple Bank for Savings for the export of helicopters to be used in Colombia’s offshore oil and gas industry.

The loan was provided to North Pole Investments in Panama, for the purchase of AW139 helicopters manufactured at the Philadelphia operation of Anglo-Italian firm AgustaWestland (a wholly owned subsidiary of Finmeccanica), to be leased to to Helistar for offshore oil and gas crew transportation in Colombia.

US Exim is working with Italy’s export credit agency (ECA), Sace, to secure a guarantee for the foreign-content portion of the financing, though the majority of the export is US-made.

US Exim chairman Fred Hochberg says: “We are pleased to finance the exports of these quality, American-made helicopters because of the jobs in Philadelphia that will be sustained as a result. This transaction will empower AgustaWestland to continue to grow in Latin America while maintaining good-paying aerospace jobs here at home.”

According to the ECA, the financing will support around 200 jobs at AgustaWestland’s facilities and within its US supply chain.

This is US Exim’s fourth financing in favour of AgustaWestland’s helicopter exports to Latin America: In 2009, the bank backed the export of AW139 helicopters to the government of Trinidad and Tobago for use in search and rescue operations, and in 2012 and 2013 it guaranteed the financing of AW139 helicopters for export to Omni Taxi Aéreo for use in the oil and gas industry in Brazil.