Finnair uses A350s to raise cash in sale and leaseback deal

Finnair Airbus A350 airplane taking off at Helsinki Airport.
Markus Mainka /

Finnair is selling and leasing back four of its A350 aircraft to raise funds as part of plans to boost its finances.

The transaction, involving four aircraft that were delivered to Finnair between June 2017 and February 2019, will immediately free up cash of over $400 million, the airline said in a statement on September 28, 2021.

“This is the biggest single aircraft financing transaction in the history of our company”, declared Finnair chief financial officer Mika Stirkkinen. “It is a significant part of our refinancing plan, which we have executed diligently during the pandemic, and it helps us to further improve our capital structure.”

Finnair will use the funds freed up to refinance existing debt and retire an undrawn revolving credit facility of €175 million ($204 million). The deal will not impact its financial results for the third quarter of 2021, the airline noted. 

The counterparties in the transaction are lessors GECAS and PIMCO. The operating leases agreed for the four A350s are for an average of 12 years, Finnair said. 

Finnair has ordered 19 A350 aircraft, of which 16 have been delivered. The remaining three are due to arrive in its fleet in the second quarter of 2022, the fourth quarter of 2024 and the first quarter of 2025. 

Many airlines, such as easyJet, Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) and Singapore Airlines (SIA1) (SINGY), have been turning to sale and leaseback deals as ways to help boost their battered balance sheets during the pandemic. 

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