EAC & The Horn

The future of aircraft financing in Africa

For African airlines, securing adequate funding has long been a formidable challenge, constraining carriers’ ability to grow and therefore compete globally.

However, an alliance between Nigeria-based carrier Ibom Air, Zenith Bank, and Airbus is poised to herald a new era for aircraft financing in Africa.

This partnership has already resulted in the successful closure of commercial financing for Ibom Air’s inaugural A220 aircraft but also signals a broader shift poised to revolutionize the continent’s aviation sector.

Zenith Bank, as West Africa’s largest financial services provider, has demonstrated its unwavering commitment to aircraft financing through this landmark agreement.

Dr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, the Bank’s Group Managing Director, highlights the pivotal role of financial institutions in driving economic growth and supporting regional carriers.

By extending support to Ibom Air, Zenith Bank has demonstrated its dedication to advancing the landscape of African aviation financing, recognizing the sector’s significance in fostering economic development in Africa.

Aircraft financing conditions in Africa often pale in comparison to other parts of the world, constraining the acquisition and execution of fleet renewal and expansion initiatives.

The collaboration between Ibom Air and Zenith Bank exemplifies a collaborative approach to aircraft financing, essential for nurturing a sustainable aviation ecosystem that propels socio-economic progress in Nigeria and beyond.

George Uriesi, Chief Operating Officer of Ibom Air, said synergy with regional banks is critical in facilitating aircraft financing. He noted that such partnerships are crucial for navigating the complexities of the aviation industry and driving positive socio-economic impact.

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Airbus Global Market Forecast

With Nigeria identified as a key market with immense growth potential, Ibom Air aims to spearhead this growth trajectory, leveraging strategic collaborations to soar to new heights of success.

The 2023 Airbus Global Market Forecast (GMF) predicts a substantial demand for passenger and freight aircraft in Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, over the next two decades.

This includes a requirement for numerous single-aisle and widebody aircraft, underscoring the critical need for robust aircraft financing solutions to meet burgeoning market demands and capitalize on growth opportunities.

Boris Sakrauski, Head of Customer Finance at Airbus, lauded Zenith Bank’s entry into the realm of new Airbus aircraft financiers. He said the alliance signals an exciting potential of the African aviation sector to other banks and financial institutions across Nigeria and the continent.

With more than 60 Airbus aircraft delivered to Africa in the past five years, the involvement of Zenith Bank further solidifies the continent’s position as a key player in the global aviation industry.

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