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Qatar Airways Continues To Attract Top Banks And Closes An Award-Winning Transaction

Doha, QATAR – Qatar Airways has struck two deals worth US$500 million for the financing of three Boeing 777 aircraft in a move that clearly demonstrates the finance community’s firm support and commitment towards one of the world’s fastest growing airlines.

The Doha-based carrier appointed Calyon and Natixis Transport Finance as Joint Arrangers for the financing of two recently-delivered Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. This transaction received a Jane’s Transport Finance ‘Deal of the Year’ award in early December.

In addition, the airline has appointed Arab Bank, Calyon, Europe Arab Bank, ING Bank and Natixis Transport Finance as arrangers for the financing of one Boeing 777-200LR aircraft due to be delivered in Spring 2009. This is the first transaction in which Arab Bank and its UK subsidiary, Europe Arab Bank have acted as Arranger for Qatar Airways.

Together, the transactions represent an innovative six-year, two tranche finance lease structure.  The financing has been underwritten and financed by a pool of eight banks: Arab Bank, Calyon, DekaBank, Europe Arab Bank, Fortis Bank, ING Bank, KfW IPEX-Bank GmbH, and Natixis Transport Finance.

The transactions were successfully closed at the peak of the financial crisis and utilised unique tailor-made solutions from the banks demonstrating once again their strong commitment to Qatar Airways.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said of the deal: “In the current financial climate, banks are focusing their liquidity on the strongest airlines. I am very pleased that these banks continue to demonstrate their support for Qatar Airways.

“Qatar Airways has built up a strong reputation in the international marketplace with a solid long-term growth strategy that can weather any crisis. Our commitment to provide the travelling public with greater choice through more frequency and more routes is unprecedented as we take delivery of brand new aircraft to help fulfill our targets.”

Natixis Transport Finance Chief Executive Officer Christian McCormick added: “We are proud to continue to support Qatar Airways’ expansion during these difficult times for the banking community, and extremely delighted to have arranged the four very first Boeing aircraft of the airline’s current fleet.“

Calyon’s global head of Aviation, Jose Abramovici said: “We were very pleased to provide Qatar Airways with innovative solutions. The structure was designed to attract asset players as well as banks which relied on creditworthiness of the airline. We look forward to continuing our support to our customer during 2009.”

Europe Arab Bank head of transport finance, Gilles Charmey expressed his delight of the deal, saying: “It has been rewarding to work with such an important airline in the Middle East and provide the flexibility required for the airline’s first Boeing 777-200LR.”

Qatar Airways’ Boeing 777-300 Extended Range aircraft features 335 seats in a two-class configuration of 42 seats in Business and 293 in Economy. The airline currently has four Boeing 777s in its fleet.

With a 2–2–2 configuration in Business Class and each seat converting to 180-degree flat beds offering a generous pitch of 78 inches, together with individual TV screens measuring 15.4 inches, it is one of the most spacious premium cabins in the skies today. The Economy Class cabin, in a 3–3–3 configuration, has a seat pitch of up to 34-inches and 10.6-inch TV screens, designed to offer optimum viewing. Both Business and Economy class cabins offer in-seat PC power supply and touch-screen inflight entertainment (IFE).

The aircraft features a revamped IFE system, Oryx Entertainment, offering each passenger more than 700 audio and visual options, and individual control of their entertainment.

The first of Qatar Airways’ Boeing 777-200 Long Range aircraft is expected to be delivered in early 2009 and will be used on the Doha – Houston route, one of the longest non-stop flights in the world with a flying time of 17 hours. The aircraft features 42 seats in Business Class and 193 in Economy.

In total, Qatar Airways has ordered 32 Boeing 777s – 14 B777-300ERs, six B777-200LRs, seven B777-200 Freighters with a further five aircraft on option.

Qatar Airways currently operates one of the world’s most modern fleet comprising 64 Airbus and Boeing aircraft from its Doha hub to 83 key destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, South Asia, Far East and North America.

Qatar Airways currently has orders for 80 Airbus A350s, 60 Boeing 787s and 32 Boeing 777s, with deliveries of the latter having started in November 2007. The airline is a launch customer of the twin-deck Airbus A380 ‘super jumbos’ with five aircraft on order and scheduled for delivery from 2012. Qatar Airways is due to move to the New Doha International Airport in 2011, when the first phase of the new facility opens. For more information, visit www.ndiaproject.com

Qatar Airways is one of only six airlines in the world with a Five Star ranking for service and excellence awarded by Skytrax, the independent aviation industry monitoring agency. Skytrax also named Qatar Airways’ cabin crew as Best in the Middle East for the sixth year running in 2008 and the airline was voted Best in the Middle East for the third year in a row following a survey of more than 15 million passengers worldwide. At the World Travel Awards held in the Caribbean in December, Qatar Airways’ Business Class was voted Best in the World. For more information, log onto www.qatarairways.com



Qatar Airways Corporate Communications
Tel: +974 4496956, Fax: +974 4620132
E-mail: qrmedia@qatarairways.com.qa

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