Dubai Air Show

U.S. Exim Bank bankrolls NAS Gulfstream purchase

 - December 11, 2006, 5:50 AM

The U.S. Exim Bank has approved a long-term loan guarantee to support the sale of three Gulfstream G350 business jets to Saudi Arabian executive air transport provider National Air Services. Gulfstream signed a letter of intent in May for the aircraft, which the Exim Bank accord finalizes. The transaction is structured as an asset-based financing arrangement with the G350s serving as collateral. Arab Banking Corp. is the guaranteed lender on the deal.

Tarek Ragheb, Gulfstream’s division v-p for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said the Exim Bank agreement would lead to banks “lining up” to finance aircraft deals in the region. He added that the deal with NAS had “widened the base for fractional ownership of super mid-size business jets in this region.” Ragheb said Gulfstream currently has an 18- to 24-month order backlog.

Among Gulfstream’s research and development projects is work to investigate the reduction of sonic boom associated with a possible future supersonic business jet. At the recent National Business Aircraft Association convention in Orlando the company presented its supersonic acoustic signature simulator, a mobile audio booth designed to demonstrate Gulfstream’s success in reducing the acoustic “spike” caused by supersonic flight to what it calls the “Gulfstream Whisper.”

“We’re doing basic research into sonic boom suppression because there will be no business case for a supersonic business jet if we can’t fly overland,” said Ragheb. “We’re showing what can be achieved, but if it isn’t acceptable to legislators, environmentalists and others we won’t succeed.”