Airbus seals finance co-operation pact with China's ICBC

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Airbus has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) to co-operate on aircraft financing and leasing, in a deal valued at some 20 billion yuan ($3 billion).

Under the agreement, ICBC Leasing will provide aircraft delivery financing to airlines in China. Airbus says ICBC Leasing could provide financing solutions for up to 70 A320 aircraft assembled at the new Airbus plant in Tianjin over the next five years.

The financing products on offer will include sale and lease-back transactions provided directly to Chinese airlines.

However, ICBC Leasing will also consider offering financing for aircraft delivered by Airbus from other final assembly lines around the world. ICBC Leasing will consider purchasing a certain number of aircraft directly from Airbus, says the airframer, for future leasing needs of airlines.

"Our objective is to support the whole aeronautic community in China - the airlines when enabling them to acquire Airbus aircraft as well as [the Tianjin facility] to ensure its smooth ramp-up," says ICBC chairman Jiang Jianqing.

Airbus chief Tom Enders says: "In the current economic environment, aircraft financing remains very challenging. But aircraft remain very attractive investments.

"The timely financing support from ICBC Leasing will surely help Chinese airlines to take deliveries of their new Airbus aircraft and enhance their competitiveness."