Zenith Bank Reaffirms Commitment to African Aviation Financing

February 2, 2024
Ibom Air Zenith Bank Airbus

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The chief executive of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr Ebenezer Onyeagwu, has reaffirmed the lender’s determination to ensure that African airline operators get the necessary funding support to grow their businesses.

Securing adequate funding poses a significant hurdle for African carriers. Financing conditions for African Airlines are generally less favourable compared to other regions.

Consequently, African airlines encounter challenges in acquiring and executing renewal and expansion initiatives.

In November 2023, Ibom Air, an airline owned by the Akwa Ibom State government, received an Airbus A220, with Zenith Bank involved in the financing.

“At Zenith Bank, we know how important the role financial institutions play in acting as economic enablers.

“We also understand how important the aviation sector is to facilitating economic growth in Nigeria and across the broader African continent.

“This landmark agreement solidifies our commitment to supporting regional carriers and advancing the landscape of African aviation financing,” Mr Onyeagwu stated.

Also commenting on the transaction, the Chief Operating Officer of Ibom Air, Mr George Uriesi, said, “Aircraft financing is a collaborative effort and the support of regional banks is pivotal.

“This synergy fosters a sustainable aviation ecosystem, allowing us to soar higher and drive positive socio-economic impact in Nigeria and the broader continent. Nigeria is widely recognised as the African market with the highest growth potential and we aim to be at the forefront of that growth.”

On his part, the Head of Customer Finance at Airbus, Mr Boris Sakrauski, said, “Over the past five years, more than 60 Airbus aircraft were delivered to the African continent via lessors and various financing structures. We are thrilled to now have Zenith Bank in the arena of new Airbus aircraft financiers.

“We hope that its involvement in the sector sends a powerful signal to other banks and financial institutions in Nigeria and across the continent about the exciting potential of the African aviation sector.”

According to the 2023 Airbus Global Market Forecast (GMF), airlines serving Nigeria will require nearly 160 passenger and freight aircraft in the next two decades.

This includes 131 single-aisle aircraft such as the A220, and A320 families, and 28 widebody aircraft such as the A330 and A350 families.

Aduragbemi Omiyale

Aduragbemi Omiyale is a journalist with Business Post Nigeria, who has passion for news writing. In her leisure time, she loves to read.

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