Ethiopian Airlines has signed an eight-year sale and leaseback agreement with TrueNoord, the specialist regional aircraft lessor, for two further factory-new Dash 8-400 aircraft.
Manufactured by De Havilland of Canada, the new Dash 8-400 aircraft (MSN4626 and MSN4628) will be integrated into the fleet for immediate operation. Funding for the aircraft was provided by TrueNoord’s revolving warehouse facility underwritten by Citibank, Société Générale and Royal Bank of Canada. Milbank represented TrueNoord and Clifford Chance represented the lenders on the financing.
Maarten Grift, TrueNoord’s Sales Manager for Africa, Middle East and CIS observes that Ethiopian Airlines’ growing portfolio will further underpin their strong reputation for quality services and innovation.
He said: “TrueNoord is pleased to be chosen to support their regional connectivity with the versatile and economical Dash 8-400 aircraft. Increased capacity will enable Ethiopian to boost services domestically and broaden the choice of routes across neighbouring East African countries.”
Currently celebrating 75 years of excellence, Ethiopian Airlines has become the continent’s leading carrier. Operating at the forefront of aviation technology, the airline is also one of Ethiopia’s major industries, and a respected institution in Africa. A dominant force across the Pan-African network, it currently serves 127 international and 22 domestic destinations operating the newest and youngest fleet in the region.
Mr Mesfin Tasew, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, said: “The airline is expanding with an important remit to explore new technologies alongside environmental matters and economic solutions. The organisation is committed to a sustainable future for regional aviation and being prepared to meet new demands.”
He added “Our growing relationship with TrueNoord is founded upon their ability to provide practical and timely lease options that support our evolving business model. We have continued to use the Dash 8-400 model because it is the ideal aircraft to serve our large domestic and regional network.”
Philippe Poutissou, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, De Havilland Canada, said: “We are pleased that TrueNoord is investing in the Dash 8-400 aircraft for its portfolio – reinforcing De Havilland Canada’s reputation for building aircraft with long-term value retention for both operators and owners. Sale and leaseback transactions, such as the one announced today between TrueNoord and Ethiopian Airlines, are providing increasingly valuable support to our operators as they work to deliver efficient air transport around the world.”
TrueNoord CEO Anne-Bart Tieleman said: “As we work together in an industry that is coping with sudden change and disruption, it is essential for TrueNoord to support our lessees globally. We were delighted that Ethiopian Airlines was our first lessee in Africa and that our portfolio of Dash 8-400 aircraft has grown to three in six months.”
Sustained delivery of commercially viable direct flights between domestic African destinations will help to spearhead economic progress across the continent and as the leading operator, Ethiopian Airlines is at the forefront of such activity.
Tieleman added: “This latest sale and leaseback agreement is evidence of their strong credit rating and global reputation, this makes them the perfect airline partner and our relationship is open to future growth.”