NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (Aug. 28, 2019) – Aviation Capital Group LLC (ACG), a leading aircraft operating lessor, announced today that it has structured, arranged, and provided a guarantee of a senior secured loan by Apple Bank for Savings (Apple Bank) to finance a portion of the purchase price of one Airbus A350-1000 aircraft delivered to Virgin Atlantic Airways (Virgin Atlantic). Rand Merchant Bank through FirstRand Bank Limited (London Branch) (RMB) provided a subordinated secured loan for a portion of the remainder of the aircraft purchase price.
The Virgin Atlantic financing utilized ACG’s Aircraft Financing Solutions (AFS) program. The AFS program complements ACG’s operating lease business by providing customers with cost effective aircraft financing solutions. Among operating lessors, ACG believes that it has created a unique aircraft financing program.
“ACG is delighted to have had this opportunity to partner with Virgin Atlantic, Apple Bank and RMB on this financing. There are several firsts for the AFS program connected with this transaction. This is the first Airbus aircraft to be funded through the AFS program and Virgin Atlantic is a new customer for ACG. In addition, this is the first AFS transaction that included a subordinated loan in the structure. Together with the cooperation and hard work of Virgin Atlantic, Apple Bank, RMB and all the transaction participants, the AFS team was able to successfully structure and arrange this financing in a way that addressed everyone’s needs,” said Robert Lewandowski, managing director of ACG.
“The aircraft finance loan alternative to export credit provided by the Aviation Capital Group team is a new loan program I’m very pleased to support,” said Jon Byron, Senior Vice President at Apple Bank. “To add a finance alternative for an important new wide-body Airbus A350 model aircraft for a very impressive airline like Virgin Atlantic is a solid indication of the value added by ACG.”
“Virgin Atlantic is very pleased to have successfully completed this AFS programme transaction with ACG, Apple Bank and RMB. This innovative financing structure is a first for Virgin Atlantic and supports the diversification of the airline’s funding sources. We look forward to developing and deepening our relationship with ACG, Apple Bank and RMB as we renew our fleet over the coming years. This is the second of twelve A350-1000s joining our fleet between now and 2021. The A350 forms a significant part of our fleet transformation strategy and by 2022, we’ll have our youngest, cleanest, greenest ever fleet in the sky as the aircraft transforms our customer experience, reduces our environmental impact and improves our route economics,” said Tom Mackay, Chief Financial Officer of Virgin Atlantic Airways.
“RMB is extremely pleased to have had the opportunity to work with Virgin Atlantic, ACG and Apple Bank. This is RMB’s first engagement with ACG and Apple Bank and we expect this to lead to a series of future transactions together. It has been great to build a relationship with these two teams which has led to the successful closing of this deal for Virgin Atlantic. This is also RMB’s first transaction with Virgin Atlantic under RMB’s European aviation mandate. We congratulate the Virgin Team on the successful financing by this lender group of their second A350-1000,” said Wouter du Preez from RMB’s Aviation Team.