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SAUDI ARABIA'S NATIONAL AIR SERVICES ORDERS MULTIPLE GULFSTREAM G300 AIRCRAFT FOR USE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Financing to be backed by the Export-Import Bank of the United States and funded by Arab Banking Corporation, one of the largest banks in the Middle East.
|Gulfstream Corporate Communications
Robert Baugniet, +1 912-965-7372
Cell: +1 912-484-7372
|National Air Services
Rob DiCastri, C.A., +9662-652-0001, ext. 266
|Arab Banking Corporation
Graham Scopes, +973 543622
|Arab Banking Corporation
Tarek Sherlala, +1 212-583-4726
DUBAI, UAE, Dec. 8, 2003 -- Gulfstream Aerospace, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD) and National Air Services (NAS), the largest and fastest growing independent provider of private aviation services in the Middle East, announced today a firm order for three large-cabin, mid-range Gulfstream G300 aircraft.
This aircraft purchase, amounting to over US $75 million, will be financed by Arab Banking Corporation (B.S.C.) (ABC) headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, and will be guaranteed by the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im), an independent federal government agency that helps finance the sale of U.S. exports. The Ex-Im guarantee of the ABC loan facility for NAS underscores the U.S. government's strong commitment to the region and its support of both the NAS business model and Gulfstream products.
This is the second landmark transaction completed by ABC for NAS this year, following a Gulfstream IV-SP financing completed in June. It is the latest of several highly structured asset-backed deals the ABC Global Project & Structured Finance unit - a leader in the provision of integrated financing services in the region - has been involved in worldwide. It further demonstrates the confidence the Bank has in the development of NAS and its various business lines, in Gulfstream aircraft and the growing relationship ABC has with Ex-Im through its New York branch.
"NAS is a leader in private aviation in the Middle East, and we are pleased to continue to support the company's growth, expanding our long-term mutually beneficial relationship," stated Ghazi Abdul-Jawad, President & Chief Executive of ABC. "We are pleased to have this opportunity to cooperate with Ex-Im on this important transaction for both NAS and Gulfstream."
The leading provider of private aviation services in the Middle East, NAS offers a NetJets fractional ownership and leasing program; aircraft charter services; an aircraft management product that includes charter revenue-generation solutions for aircraft owners; and a hybrid program that combines the other three programs and guarantees availability to aircraft and fleet owners throughout the region.
The only fully licensed independent private aircraft operator in Saudi Arabia, NAS has its operational headquarters in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and satellite offices in Cairo, Riyadh and Bahrain. The company currently operates a total of 23 aircraft, including four GIV /GIV-SP models.
"In selecting these new aircraft, we considered a number of factors and determined that the G300 was the best choice, particularly given its spacious cabin, range capabilities, dispatch reliability and product support" said Mohammed H. Al Zeer, NAS President and Chief Executive Officer. "This order represents another major milestone in the growth of our company and will allow us to continue expanding the unparalleled comprehensive solutions we offer to aircraft owners and users in the Middle East."
"Based on the growth NAS is currently experiencing, and the popularity of Gulfstream aircraft in the region, we are also fully confident that this order will be expanded in the very near future, with the addition of a number of G300 models. In fact, we are already in an advanced stage of discussions with Gulfstream on this subject," Al Zeer added. "Since these advanced aircraft clearly satisfy the needs of many of our diverse customers, we expect to utilize each one of them across all of our various business lines."
This transaction is the third aircraft financing announced by NAS this year for its growing fleet and is part of a long-term financing and growth strategy being implemented by the company. It is the first time NAS has been backed by Ex-Im, which underscores the significance of this transaction, demonstrates the continued confidence the financing community has in the company and further enhances the company's reputation and profile in the region.
Gulfstream will deliver all three of these G300 business jets to NAS by the end of 2004.
"We expect NAS will find the G300 a valuable asset in its private aircraft fleet," said Bryan Moss President, Gulfstream. "Since its formation in 1999, NAS has captured the attention of business jet operators in the Middle East by providing its customers with flexible and innovative solutions to satisfy their changing needs. We look forward to providing NAS with the finest aircraft that best meet their business needs and supporting their growing Gulfstream fleet with our expertise and professionalism."
While the G300 inherits the reliability and performance of Gulfstream's best-selling business jet, the Gulfstream IV, the quality and reliability of the G300 continue to improve as a result of Gulfstream's manufacturing advancements. Additionally, the G300 features an expanded range of standard equipment and options.
Powered by twin Rolls-Royce engines, the G300 was developed to meet specific travel needs of business jet owners and passengers. The mid-range G300 can fly up to 3,600 nautical miles, or nonstop from Riyadh to London. It can reach speeds up to Mach 0.88 and an altitude of 45,000 feet, well above commercial traffic. While the G300 can accommodate up to 19 passengers, it is typically outfitted for 11 to 14 passengers. The NAS aircraft are configured for 14 passengers and incorporate options uniquely suited to the Middle East region.
The G300 flight deck features the fully integrated Honeywell SPZ-8400 avionics system, which is compatible with many navigational options, including the Honeywell 2020 Head Up Display (HUD) and the industry-exclusive, FAA-certified Gulfstream Enhanced Vision System™ (EVS). The EVS significantly enhances a pilot's situational awareness in reduced visibility conditions, thereby addressing many of the issues raised in the FAA's Safer Skies Initiative.
NOTE TO EDITORS
Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), designs, develops, manufactures, markets, services and supports the world's most technologically advanced business jet aircraft. Gulfstream has produced more than 1,400 aircraft for customers around the world since 1958. To meet the diverse transportation needs of the future, Gulfstream offers a comprehensive fleet of aircraft, comprising the mid-cabin, high-speed Gulfstream G100™; the wide-cabin, high-speed Gulfstream G150™; the large-cabin, mid-range Gulfstream G200™; the large-cabin, mid-range Gulfstream G300™; the large-cabin, long-range Gulfstream G400™; the large-cabin, long-range G450™; the large-cabin, ultra-long-range Gulfstream G500™ and the large-cabin, ultra-long-range Gulfstream G550™. Gulfstream also offers aircraft ownership services via Gulfstream Financial Services Division and Gulfstream Pre-Owned Aircraft Sales®. The company employs more than 6,750 people at seven major locations. We invite you to visit our Web site for more information and photos of Gulfstream aircraft at www.gulfstream.com.
General Dynamics, headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, employs approximately 66,900 people worldwide and estimates 2003 revenues of $16.1 billion. The company has leading market positions in mission-critical information systems and technologies, land and amphibious combat systems, shipbuilding and marine systems, and business aviation. More information about the company can be found on the World Wide Web at www.generaldynamics.com.
National Air Services (NAS) is the leading provider of private aviation in the Middle East. Established in 1999, NAS offers a comprehensive range of services in the region, including the revolutionary NetJets Middle East Fractional Aircraft Ownership and Leasing Program, a growing aircraft charter program, a private aircraft management program and a hybrid program that combines the benefits of all three services into one unique package for Middle East customers. These four programs currently operate a total of 23 aircraft, by far the largest and fastest growing private operation in the region. NAS offers the unique proposition to Middle East customers of unparalleled international service through a truly local company and prides itself on being able to offer flexible, unique solutions to any private aircraft users, regardless of their requirements. Further information is available from a NAS sales representative or on the World Wide Web at either www.nasaviation.com or www.netjets.com.
Export-Import Bank of the United States is an independent federal government agency that helps finance the sale of U.S. exports, primarily to emerging markets throughout the world, by providing loan guarantees, export credit insurance, and direct loans. In fiscal year 2003, Ex-Im Bank authorized financing to support approximately $14.2 billion of U.S. exports worldwide. More information about the company can be found on the World Wide Web at www.exim.gov.
Arab Banking Corporation (B.S.C.) (ABC), established in 1980, is a leading Middle East regional bank with a worldwide strategic network, with its head office in the Kingdom of Bahrain. ABC has branch offices, subsidiaries and affiliates in more than 30 locations, providing a comprehensive range of conventional and Islamic banking services and products, with a primary focus on the Arab World. ABC offers the full spectrum of project and structured finance services for clients, including financial advisory, debt structuring, underwriting, arranging and syndication. ABC established a dedicated Global Project & Structured Finance unit at the beginning of 2001 and the bank has successfully positioned itself as a leader in this field in the Middle East region. Further information about ABC can be found at www.arabbanking.com.
Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), designs, develops, manufactures, markets, services and supports the world's most technologically-advanced business jet aircraft.