Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 25 September 2020

Etihad Airways to sell 38 planes to Altavair AirFinance and KKR for $1bn

Abu Dhabi-based airline is selling 22 Airbus A330s and 16 Boeing 777-300ERs

Etihad struck a $1bn deal to sell 38 aircraft. Alamy
Etihad struck a $1bn deal to sell 38 aircraft. Alamy

Etihad Airways is selling 38 Boeing and Airbus wide-body aircraft to aviation finance company Altavair AirFinance and investment firm KKR in a $1 billion (Dh3.6bn) deal.

Seattle-based Altavair, which has a partnership with New York-based KKR, will buy 22 A330s and 16 777-300ERs from the Abu Dhabi airline, according to a joint statement the companies released on February 3.

"We’ve made great strides in optimising our fleet structure over the past year, and this investment from KKR and Altavair AirFinance will allow us to take another step forward in this area," said Tony Douglas, chief executive of the Etihad Aviation Group. "This deal will ensure we stand by our 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.”

Under the terms of the agreement, the 777-300ERs will be leased back to Etihad following the purchase early this year. Altavair will lease the A330s to other international airlines either as passenger jets or converted freighters over the next 22 months.

Etihad earlier said it would begin phasing out its Airbus A330 jets. The airline last year restructured its jet orders amid a wider five-year transformation plan as it strives to return to profit following three years of losses.

The airline expects to return to profitability in 2023 by the end of its turnaround plan, its chief commercial officer, Robin Kamark, said in October 2019.

The airline is now more focused on carrying passengers to and from its Abu Dhabi hub, as opposed to its previous model of connecting east and west.

Updated: February 4, 2020 04:30 PM

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