Air India to raise $470 million for purchasing four Boeing 787 planes

Air India plans to induct the four planes—part of the 27 aircraft order placed with the Boeing Inc in 2006—between July and October this year


Air India has 23 B787-800 planes in the fleet besides other types of Boeing and Airbus planes. Photo: Mint
Air India has 23 B787-800 planes in the fleet besides other types of Boeing and Airbus planes. Photo: Mint

New Delhi: The government-owned Air India is looking to raise short-term loans worth over Rs3,000 crore to partly fund acquisition of four Boeing 787 planes.

It plans to induct these four planes—part of the 27 aircraft order placed with the Boeing Inc in 2006—between July and October this year.

Currently, the national airline has 23 B787-800 planes in the fleet besides other types of Boeing and Airbus planes.

To fund the purchase of four more Boeing 787 aircraft, the airline is looking for banks and financial institutions to arrange bridge financing or short term loans for a period of 15 months. The bridge finance would be up to "$470 million (approximately $117.500 million per aircraft) for partly financing acquisition of four B787-8 aircraft,” as per an invitation of offer document.

At the current dollar-rupee exchange rate, $470 million translates to little over Rs3,100 crore.

For availing the short- term loan, the national airline would provide the aircraft as security. The loan amount would be repaid after it concludes a sale and lease back (SLB) arrangement. Under SLB arrangement, the seller of an asset leases it back from the purchaser for a long term. There would be no government guarantee for the loan, Air India has said in the document.

According to the document, Air India has sold 21 planes of the 23 Boeing 787 aircraft that are currently in operations and took them back under SLB arrangement. The SLB of the two remaining planes, which were delivered to the airline between November 2106 and January this year, is under process.

Back in 2006, as part of fleet expansion plans, Air India placed orders with Boeing for 68 aircraft—27 Dreamliners, 15 B777-300ERs, 8 B777-200LRs and 18 B-737-800s. Of these, Boeing has already delivered 61 planes to the airline. Apart from four B787-8s, remaining three B777-300ER are scheduled to be delivered early next year.

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