Cargo airline ASL Aviation Holdings will borrow up to €105 million from US bank Goldman Sachs to help pay for 20 Boeing jets the carrier is buying.

Dublin-based ASL recently confirmed it would add a total of 20 new Boeing 737 800 planes, converted to carry freight, to its fleet as part of an overall replacement programme.

The company said on Thursday that it has agreed a facility with Goldman Sachs that will allow it borrow up to $125 million (€105 million) as it is needed, which the airline will use to partly finance its new aircraft.

Boeing will deliver the 20 jets to ASL by the end of 2022. The airline has received the first three while four more are due later this month.

ASL originally ordered 10 aircraft from the US manufacturer with an option to buy a further 10, which the company confirmed with Boeing in February that it would take.

Mark O’Kelly, ASL chief financial officer, explained that the deal with Goldman would facilitate the company’s capital spending plans and allow it to manage its debt as aviation sector works its way through the Covid-19 crisis.

“With a volatile market due to the impact of the pandemic, this new facility provides ASL with both stability and flexibility,” he said.

Throughout the crisis, ASL says that it has kept 80 per cent of its 140 planes flying and kept all 2,500 workers, with no Covid-related redundancies.

Dave Andrew, ASL chief executive, pointed out that the group’s five carriers had continued operating through the pandemic, transporting vaccines, personal protection equipment, and industrial and personal goods.

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“The global aviation industry has been devastated and a full recovery will take time,” he warned, adding that ASL was gearing to grow its businesses in Europe.

ASL Aviation Holdings has five European airlines. The Irish, Belgian and Hungarian carriers run cargo networks for leading express parcel and on-line retailers.

ASL Airlines France flies cargo and post services as well as operating scheduled and chartered passenger flights. ASL UK recently began flying freighters between Belfast and East Midlands airports.



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