Asian carriers A380 ECA RFPs to close soon

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Mandates on two recent request for proposals (RFP) in the Asian market covering Airbus A380s could be decided by the end of this month, market sources say.

Korean Air and Thai Airways International are in the market with export credit agency (ECA) RFPs covering four A380 deliveries. The aircraft are scheduled for delivery in the second half of this year.

Korean Air approached the market at the end of February to finance the purchase of two A380s. The carrier is asking for ECA and commercial loan proposals, market sources indicate.

The South Korean carrier closed financing on its first four deliveries in 2011 with 12-year ECA loan facilities guaranteed by Coface. The Korean carrier jointly mandated Crédit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank (CA-CIB) and KfW IPEX-Bank as arrangers of the financing with the French bank acting as ECA facility agent and security trustee. Korea Development Bank arranged and provided a commercial facility on each delivery.

Another A380 aircraft, delivered in 2011, was financed by Sumitomo Mitsui Banking (SMBC) and Citibank. Last December, Korean Air closed financing on a new A380 with a commercial loan from SMBC and the Development Bank of Japan.

Korean Air placed orders for 10 A380s with General Electric - Pratt & Whitney Alliance GP7270 engines in 2003 and has now received six aircraft of the type.

According to Flightglobal's Ascend Online database, Korean Air has two A380 deliveries in July and October this year. The remaining two aircraft are scheduled for May and June 2014.

Late last month Thai Airways sent out a request for proposals for two deliveries scheduled for October and November of this year. The aircraft are the final two A380s powered by Rolls-Royce's Trent 970-84 engines out of a six-aircraft order.

The Bangkok-based carrier is asking for ECA proposals on the first aircraft, while the second aircraft could be financed by another means, say banking sources.

Deadline for the proposals was 22 April, but the carrier has extended the timeframe by another week.

Thai Airways financed its first four A380s under ECA-backed transactions with Citibank, BNP Paribas and SMBC as well as Société Générale.