Air India looking for $230 million bridge loan for Dreamliner deal

Air India, which is expected to be the first of the launch customers of US aircraft maker Boeing's 787 Dreamliners, is looking at a $230-million bridge loan for financing the deal.

Cash-strapped Air India, however, plans a sell-and-lease-back arrangement for the new aircraft that Boeing will start delivering from next month.

However, the airline requires bridge financing for the interim period of 6 to 12 months to accept delivery of the first two B787-8 planes. Air India has approached banks and financial institutions to arrange for $230 million for purchase of the first two aircraft.

The bridge loan facility would be repaid on conclusion of the sale and leaseback arrangement, sources said.

The board of Air India has finalised plans to go for sale of these aircraft to a lessor and immediate leaseback under an operating lease of 12 years, with an option to extend the period, sources said.

The development comes amidst published reports of moves in the US to deny loans to the cash-strapped Indian national carrier.

Boeing, however, said the announcement had ''no relationship'' to the ongoing financial problems at Air India.

Boeing, based in North Charleston and Everett, Washington, has also been struggling with the timely production of the 787 Dreamliner jets.