Caixabank, Spain’s third largest financial institution, has entered the international aircraft leasing business with a deal for five Airbus A330 aircraft.
The five A330-300 aircraft were previously operated by Thai Airways (three), Singapore Airways (one) and TransAsia (one), respectively, and have been placed with an air cargo subsidiary of logistics firm DHL.
DHL Air UK records registered with the United Kingdom’s Companies House show transactions corresponding to the placement of each of the five aircraft, with dates of July 26, August 9 and November 6, 2022, and May 24, 2023. However, the deal only came to light when Airways Magazine published a report about it on September 17, 2023.
The passenger aircraft will now be converted into freighters at Dresden Airport (DRS) by Elbe Flugzeugwerke GmbH (EFW), a joint venture between Airbus and ST Engineering, which has completed other passenger to freighter (P2F) conversions for DHL in the past.
Since 2016, when the company received its first A330-300 P2F, DHL has been scouring the market regularly for used A330-300s to transform and induct into cargo service. DHL currently has 11 A330-300 P2F aircraft in service, which makes it the largest operator of the type in the world.
While Caixabank does not have a specialized aircraft leasing arm, this is not the first large aircraft financing deal the lender has been involved in. The bank has financed other aircraft acquisitions by Spanish airlines in the past.
Earlier in 2023, for example, Caixabank, together with two other large Spanish banks, Santander and BBVA, financed the purchase six Embraer E195-E2 aircraft by Binter Canarias, a regional airline based in the Canary Islands, for a total amount of US$467 million. The deal was announced during the 2023 Paris Air Show.
UPDATE 21-09-2023: This article was amended to add additional details.