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.”
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.