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World’s 1st sustainability-linked ESG loan in global aviation raised by Etihad

Landmark finance transaction demonstrates the UAE flag carrier’s ongoing commitment to sustainability

Etihad Airways has raised a $1.2 billion ESG-linked loan First sustainability-linked loan regionally to include environmental, social, and governance metrics Loan terms tied to targets to reduce CO2 emissions, increase corporate governance

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has raised $1.2 billion in the first sustainability-linked loan (SLL) tied to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) targets in global aviation.

The transaction is the largest sustainable financing in the airline’s history and follows two innovative aviation financing deals – a first-of-a-kind sustainability-linked transition Sukuk in 2020 and a loan tied to the UN Sustainable Development Goals in 2019.

Adam Boukadida, Chief Financial Officer at Etihad Aviation Group, said: “Etihad Airways has spearheaded sustainable financing in aviation, and we are proud to continue our innovative track record by being the first airline to secure a sustainability-linked ESG loan. Financing our operations in a way that supports both our planet and the people in our local communities is the natural next step of our financing strategy.

“Our goals will have a real-world impact, and to underscore our accountability, we have committed to penalties and incentives of up to $5.5 million linked to our progress against key performance indicators. Through our Greenliner program, we are pursuing multiple sustainability-related initiatives at Etihad Airways to improve the environmental footprint of aviation, and green financing is a key part of our strategy.”

The loan terms are linked to multiple Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that are tied to the following ESG initiatives and will be independently assessed:

  • Environmental – Reducing the carbon emissions intensity of the passenger fleet, as measured in terms of CO2 emissions per revenue ton-kilometers. As part of its iconic Greenliner Program, Etihad Airways has committed to an ambitious target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and has set key milestone goals for 2035 and 2025.
  • Social – Etihad Airways has established the Global Business Service Solution (GBSS) center in Al Ain, UAE, to contribute towards the socio-economic development of the community and to increase employment and upskilling of Emirati women in the aviation sector. These KPIs will measure both female participation and ongoing training and development.
  • Governance – Etihad Airways upholds the highest standards of corporate governance, ethics, and integrity. This KPI will be linked to the Integrity Score, a comprehensive measure used to assess the overall internal culture of integrity at the airline.

Etihad Airways selected HSBC and First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) as the strategic partners and financiers for this transaction.