The US Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) could double its $1 billion target to support general aviation through the end of its 2014 fiscal year, says president Fred Hochberg.
While the final numbers will not be in until the export credit agency closes all its commitments for the fiscal year that ends today, it has already closed $1.4 billion to $1.5 billion in general aviation deals since it set a three-year, $1 billion goal in 2012, he says at the International Aviation Club of Washington DC.
“We could possibly even hit $2 billion over that three-year period, which would be double the goal we set for ourselves,” says Hochberg. “Mostly, it was to make sure that smaller aircraft manufacturers and, not just commercial, also understood that we were in the game to support them globally.”
A $300 million loan guarantee to Minsheng Financial Leasing for eight Gulfstream aircraft in December 2013 was the deal that pushed Ex-Im over the $1 billion threshold, he adds.
Other beneficiaries of the bank’s financial support include Cessna and Sikorsky.
Since first passing its initial goal this past February, Ex-Im has set a new goal to finance $2 billion in general aviation aircraft, including business jets and helicopters, by the end of the 2014 calendar year.
Uncertainty about the future of Ex-Im may throw a wrench in its plans. Legislators extended its authorisation by nine-months in a last minute budget deal earlier in September. However, they will still have to tackle the partisan issue of whether the US government should support private business by the new deadline of 30 June 2015.
“A short-term solution is not the right solution for us,” says Hochberg on the topic of reauthorisation. “In order to get the job done, we need to show them we are going to be there and be there for the long haul.”