US Ex-Im to face A320 financing question

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The Export-Import Bank of the United States (US Ex-Im) will soon have to make a decision on whether it will finance Airbus A320neos manufactured at the European airframer's new final assembly line in Mobile, Alabama.

Gordon Welsh, head of aerospace at UK Export Finance, says that US Ex-Im will likely face the question if Airbus decides to use a "significant amount" of US-manufactured content in aircraft from the facility, at the Ascend Aviation 2020 Finance Forum in San Francisco today.

If the content of the aircraft assembled at the plant maintains "UK content at the levels they are" now, then UK Export Finance would support A320neos from the Alabama facility, he says.

The British export credit agency provides financing for Airbus aircraft delivered from Hamburg, Tianjin and Toulouse, says Welsh.

Airbus has not indicated where it will source content for aircraft assembled in Alabama. It plans to begin assembly at the plant in 2015 with the first delivery in 2016.

Welsh was responding to a question from Jude Bricker, senior vice-president of planning and treasurer of Allegiant Air, over the availability of US Ex-Im financing for A320neos from the plant.

Las Vegas-based Allegiant announced that it would lease 19 Airbus A319s from Cebu Pacific and GE Capital Aviation Services in July.

"I don't think Bob [Morin] would be thrilled to finance A320s out of Alabama, but I don't know," says Douglas Emerson, a senior director at Boeing Capital, at the forum. Morin is the vice president of US Ex-Im's transportation division.