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Saudia to raise SR5bn in sukuk

Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia), the Kingdom’s national carrier, plans to raise as much as SR5 billion ($1.33 billion) in Islamic bonds (sukuk) in the second quarter to refinance existing debt and purchase new aircraft, an airline official said.

Saudia is in negotiations with local banks, the airline’s Director-General Saleh Al-Jasser was quoted as saying in a Bloomberg interview on the sidelines of the Bahrain airshow.

A Saudia spokesman confirmed the details to Reuters. The carrier is planning to expand its fleet to 200 aircraft by 2020 from a current fleet of 157, according to a fleet tracking website. It will receive 29 new aircraft in 2016 as it plans to increase frequency on some existing routes as well as launch new routes to the Maldives, Munich, Algiers and Ankara, the spokesman said.

It will also retire about 19 aircraft in the coming years.

Saudia placed an order for 30 A320neo planes and 20 A330-300 Regional aircraft worth around $8.2 billion at the Paris airshow last year, to be used for domestic and regional routes.

The delivery and financing of these aircraft will be done by Islamic financing in a sale and leaseback deal with Dubai-based International Airfinance Corporation (IAFC).

Source: Arab News