Cash-strapped AI decides to sale, leaseback Dreamliners
New Delhi: With the first of the 27 Boeing 787 Dreamliners for Air India expected to arrive next month, the cash-strapped national carrier has decided to sale and leaseback seven of them and has started looking for bridge financing worth USD 230 million.
While the first of these much-delayed planes would be delivered by the American manufacturer in January, the second one would come in March, the third in April and two each in May and June, official sources said.
The Air India Board has already decided to go for sale of these aircraft to a lesser and immediate leaseback under an operating lease of 12 years with an option to extend the period, the sources said.
Under sale and leaseback arrangement, one party sells a property to a buyer who immediately leases it back to the seller. The arrangement allows the initial buyer to make full use of the asset while not having capital tied up in it.
The sources said the airline required interim bridge financing for a period ranging between 6-12 months to accept delivery of the first two B 787-8 planes and has invited offers from banks and financial institutions to arrange for USD 230 million or equivalent of cost of two planes.
The bridge loan facility would be repaid on conclusion of the sale and leaseback arrangement, they said.
Air India has made it clear to its would-be lenders that the bridge loan, covering 100 per cent cost of the aircraft would not be covered by government guarantees but the planes would be offered as security, the sources said.
Few months ago, the US Exim Bank decided to support Air India's plane acquisition programme from Boeing to the total extent of USD 3.4 billion, including the B-787 Dreamliners.
A Group of Ministers headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has already studied the airline's financial restructuring and turnaround plans, which includes the proposal for sale and leaseback option to be adopted for the Dreamliners.