The Royal Bank of Scotland plc (RBS) announced today that it has agreed to finance the purchase of two Gulfstream IV-SP aircraft for National Air Services (NAS) of Saudi Arabia.
The announcement was made during the first annual Middle East Business Aviation (MEBA) conference & exhibition in Dubai. The aircraft purchase is valued at over US$50 million and represents the first such collaboration between these two market leaders. RBS is one of the ten largest banks worldwide, and NAS is the largest and fastest-growing private aviation company in the Middle East.
Donal Boylan, Head of RBS Aerospace & Defence, which includes their Corporate Aircraft & Superyacht Financing Business, said: 'RBS has already demonstrated its commitment to corporate and VIP aviation in the region, with a number of aircraft financed and several others in the pipeline. Both NAS and RBS expect this market to grow significantly over the next five years and, by working together, we look forward to enjoying an important share of that growth.'
Taher Agueel, Chief Executive Officer of NAS, said: 'This agreement marks another significant step in the ongoing expansion of National Air Services. We continue to diversify our business portfolio and move into new markets, and the acquisition of two new long-range Gulfstream business jets will further those dual aims.'
He added: 'We are extremely pleased to make this announcement during MEBA, one of the region's premier industry events, and in partnership with RBS, a global leader in commercial and corporate Aircraft Finance. Indeed, we see this agreement as just the first in what we expect will be a long and mutually beneficial relationship.'
RBS, as part of its international growth strategy, is currently opening four offices in the region, including Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The bank is already ranked first in the Middle East in Project and Export Finance, and is a global leader in this category as well as in Asset Finance. Worldwide, RBS holds the number one, two and three positions, respectively, in rail locomotive leasing, commercial shipping and commercial airliner financing. RBS has had private banking operations through its Coutts brand in the GCC, whose regional offices are in Dubai.
NAS, which was established in Riyadh in 1999, is Saudi Arabia's only privately owned air transportation services company, operating a fleet of over 30 aircraft, making it by far the largest and fastest-growing such operation in the Middle East. The two aircraft being purchased will be delivered within the coming weeks and will support its thriving private aviation solutions, including NetJets Middle East (Fractional Aircraft Ownership & Leasing), Aircraft Management and Aircraft Charter, along with its unique hybrid solutions program.