Etihad Airways has signed export credit guarantees worth $1bn to finance the purchase of eight new aircraft. The planes are to be delivered by the end of 2010.

The Abu Dhabi-based airline has agreed sovereign guarantees with the US, UK, France and Germany. The first $233m agreement from the $1bn programme will fund the purchase of two Airbus A340-600 aircraft in 2010, the carrier’s first export credit financing backed by an agency.

The UK’s HSBC served as lead arranger and lender on the first $122m tranche of this deal, with a second $111m portion agreed with Germany’s Landesbank Baden –Wurttemberg.

Etihad has a fleet of 47 aircraft, with orders for a further 100 to be delivered by 2017.