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IFC support to Airblue to promote trade business and tourism in Pakistan


In Washington, DC:
Zibu Sibanda

Phone: +1 (202) 473 0605

E-mail:
zsibanda@ifc.org


Washington, D.C. November 21, 2007 - IFC, a member of the World Bank Group has signed an agreement to support the expansion of Airblue Limited, the largest private airline in Pakistan. The investment will increase the number of reliable domestic and international flights available to travelers, addressing a key constraint to economic growth and international competitiveness in the country.

The expansion will promote trade, business and tourism in Pakistan. Airblue aims to make air travel more affordable to a greater share of the population through discounted fares and night flights. Offering safe air travel with modern planes, Airblue’s presence in the Pakistani airline market has increased consumer choice and promoted competition. As one of the fastest-growing companies in Pakistan over the past two years, Airblue also serves as a model for smaller businesses: over 40 percent of Airblue’s employees are female, an unusually high percentage for the country.


IFC’s investment consists of a $22 million loan for the financing of pre-delivery payments towards the purchase of an additional six A320s. The acquisition of these new aircraft will enable the airline to increase the frequency of flights and introduce new international destinations in Europe, the Middle East, South and East Asia.


Rashad Kaldany, IFC Director for Infrastructure said, “The World Bank Group has targeted transport as one of the key sectors for improvement in Pakistan. By supporting Airblue’s growth, we hope to communicate the availability of financing for young private companies that are expanding to encourage private sector participation in the sector.”


About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries by financing private sector investment, mobilizing private capital in local and international financial markets, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. IFC’s vision is that poor people have the opportunity to escape poverty and improve their lives. In FY07, IFC committed $8.2 billion and mobilized an additional $3.9 billion through loan participations and structured finance for 299 investments in 69 developing countries. IFC also provided advisory services in 97 countries. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org.

About Airblue Limited

Airblue Limited was launched in June 2004 and currently operates a fleet of six Airbus A320 aircraft in Pakistan. Over the past three years, it has grown to be the second-largest airline, introducing innovations for greater customer convenience such as e-ticketing and mobile check-in. It currently services 7 major domestic cities in Pakistan; Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and Manchester in the United Kingdom.