February 27, 2013- Nadi, Fiji – Air Pacific, Fiji’s national carrier soon to be flying as ‘Fiji Airways’ today announced that following the conclusion of a highly competitive bidding process, it had selected two major international aviation banks for European export credit financing for its three new A330-200 aircraft. The two banks are German-based: KfW IPEX-Bank and Helaba.
The selection of these two well-known international banking partners is the result of a highly competitive RFP process overseen by one of the world’s leading financial advisory consultancies in the aviation sector, SkyWorks Capital, LLC. SkyWorks Capital issued the Air Pacific RFP in late 2012 to a number of major international aviation banks, and thereafter received 7 firm proposals involving 11 separate banks, including five of the top global Export Credit banking groups.
“We are extremely pleased with the international financial community’s desire to invest in Fiji’s national airline, and on behalf of the nation we are proud to represent, we would like to thank everyone who participated,” said Dave Pflieger, Managing Director and CEO of Air Pacific.
“This strong response from well-known and highly experienced global financial institutions is a solid endorsement of Fiji’s national carrier, gained through the proven success of its turnaround plan, the strength of its management team, and the stability and strength of Fiji and its economy,” noted Ian McBain, managing director of SkyWorks Capital, who oversaw the RFP process on behalf of Air Pacific.
The move to finalise financing of its new aircraft follows the successful completion of purchase agreements in late 2012 with Airbus and Rolls-Royce for the purchase of three new Rolls-Royce powered, A330-200 Heavy Gross weight aircraft. Designated to replace Air Pacific’s current Boeing 747 fleet, the first aircraft delivery will be in March, 2013, with the second and third aircraft delivering in May and November, 2013 respectively. The A330-200s are the first brand new wide-body aircraft ever purchased by the 60 year old national airline, and they are valued in the Airbus catalogue at a price of USD $600 million ($F1.069 billion).
“The choice of KfW IPEX-Bank and Helaba as our banking partners is an incredibly successful outcome. Both institutions have long experience and excellent reputations in the aircraft financing business, and we are keen to build long-term relationships with them. This strong demonstration of confidence in Air Pacific (soon to be ‘Fiji Airways’) indicates how highly international financing entities view Fiji’s national carrier and Fiji itself,” Pflieger added.
About Air Pacific: Founded in 1951, Air Pacific is the national airline of Fiji. With a goal to become the airline of choice in the South Pacific, the purchase and introduction of three new re-branded ‘Fiji Airways’ Airbus A330-200s to replace its fleet of Boeing B747-400s and B767s will be the capstone of the airline’s successful turnaround from record losses just 3 years ago. From its hub at Nadi International Airport, Air Pacific and its subsidiary Pacific Sun fly to 15 cities in 10 countries. Destinations include Australia, New Zealand, USA, Hong Kong, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Vanuatu, and Solomon Islands. Air Pacific aircraft bring in over 64 percent of all visitors who fly to Fiji, and the airline and its subsidiary employ over 900 employees, earn revenues of over F$675 million ($380m USD), and directly contribute a significant portion of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Air Pacific is scheduled to fly as ‘Fiji Airways’ in 2013. Visit www.fijiairways.com for more information.
About KfW IPEX-Bank: KfW IPEX-Bank GmbH is one of the leading banks in aircraft financing with more than 30 years of experience. The bank is responsible for international project and export finance within KfW Bankengruppe. Its prime focus is on medium and long-term lending to support the export economy and develop economic and social infrastructure, and for environmental and climate protection projects. KfW IPEX-Bank operates as a legally independent group subsidiary and plays a major role in fulfilling the promotional mission of KfW Bankengruppe. It has around 570 employees and is represented in the key economic and financial centres around the globe.
About Helaba: Helaba has been active in aircraft financing for the last 20 years. Today the portfolio comprises approximately US$ 4 billion and Helaba has an active relationship with most major international airlines and leasing companies. Helaba is an integrated universal bank with strong regional focus, selective international presence and close integration in the savings banks organization. With a balance sheet total of EUR 166.5bn and about 6,500 employees, it ranks among Germany`s leading banks. Helaba’s successful strategic business model is based on three corporate sectors: business with large corporate customers and the S-Group, business with private customers and smaller and medium-sized enterprises, and also public development and infrastructure business.
About Skyworks Capital, LLC: SkyWorks Capital, LLC is a boutique aviation advisory firm with offices in Greenwich, USA and Hong Kong, China. It provides expertise to participants in the aviation sector across a broad spectrum of financial products, specializing in providing financial, technical, asset management and airline consulting services to a wide range of global airline, financial and lessor investor clients. SkyWorks Capital services include aircraft and engine purchase order advisory, leased aircraft sourcing, leased aircraft returns and export credit financing arrangement. The professionals at SkyWorks Capital are extremely experienced and offer a unique blend of commercial aviation and investment banking expertise that is tailored to each client’s strengths and needs.