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Qatar Airways, the Doha-based national carrier of the State of Qatar, has signed a pre-delivery financing agreement arranged by ABN Amro Bank and Qatar National Bank for five Airbus A330-200 aircraft, four A330-300 aircraft and two A340-600 aircraft.

ABN Amro and Qatar National Bank have also been mandated as joint arrangers by Qatar Airways for the long-term financing of the aircraft. ABN is also the agent for the lenders on both the pre-delivery and long-term financing facilities.

ABN Amro and Qatar National Bank have been joined by a club of banks comprising; ANZ Investment Bank, Credit Suisse, Depfa Group, Fortis Bank and Standard Chartered Bank as PDP, ECA and commercial lenders.  The long-term financing is to be structured as a finance lease, with the European ECAs supporting 85% of the loan and the balance of 15% being a commercial loan.

Qatar Airways is one of the world’s fastest growing airlines, serving 42 destinations throughout Europe , Africa , the Middle East and Asia .  

The A330-200s and A330-300s will be delivered between September 2004 and April 2008 in two and three class layouts for operation principally on European and Far Eastern routes. The A340-600 will be delivered in mid 2006 and will be deployed on long haul routes. The airline’s excellent product and high efficiency using aircraft closely optimised to the market are expected to underpin its continued rapid growth.

Prime Aviation of London Gatwick Airport advised Qatar Airways on the structuring of this transaction.

These aircraft are part of an order for 32 aircraft worth US$5.1bn, signed recently by Qatar Airways with Airbus, which will allow the airline to increase its fleet from 24 to 52 by 2008.

The present fleet consists of 24 new Airbus aircraft including A330-200s, A300-600s, A320-200s, and A319 corporate jets. The new order includes A330-200/300s, A340-600HGWs and A321s. The airline has also confirmed orders for the A380 “Super Jumbo”.

The Qatar Airways Group of Companies includes Qatar Airways, Qatar Duty Free, Qatar Aviation Catering Company, Qatar Aviation Services, Qatar Airways Holidays, the Qatar Distribution Company, and United Media International.