Aer Lingus (EI, Dublin International) has extracted a EUR150 million euro (USD180 million) three-year loan from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), a sovereign development fund, the Sunday Independent reported on February 7.

The airline will use the funds to strengthen its liquidity position as it grapples with the impact of Covid-19, a spokesman for Ireland’s National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), which manages the fund, told the newspaper.

The loan was agreed on commercial terms, the spokesman assured. ISIF established the EUR2 billion (USD2.4 billion) Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund (PSRF) in May 2020, and it was through this that the debt funding to the IAG International Airlines Group-owned carrier was committed.

The PSRF is aimed at large and medium-sized enterprises employing more than 250 employees or with an annual turnover in excess of EUR50 million (USD60 million), or it can channel money to other businesses of significant national or regional importance. The ISIF, meanwhile, has a statutory mandate to invest in a way that is designed to support economic activity and employment in Ireland.

“The debt funding, which was finalised in Q4 2020, is a three-year debt facility that will strengthen the airline’s liquidity position,” the spokesman said.

“ISIF and Aer Lingus agreed commercial terms on the structure, pricing, and repayment of the loan that are consistent with ISIF’s statutory ‘double bottom line’ mandate, [...] to support economic activity and employment in Ireland. The investment is designed to complement ongoing investment by Aer Lingus’ parent company International Airlines Group in the airline,” he added.

Aer Lingus confirmed the funding, with a spokeswoman telling the Sunday Independent: “Aer Lingus welcomes the three-year debt facility that was concluded with ISIF in Q4 2020. The facility represents an important contribution to the future funding requirements of Aer Lingus as it navigates through the unprecedented crisis in international aviation.”

She added: “Aer Lingus will seek to position the airline such that it can play a key role in enabling Ireland’s economic recovery by providing people and businesses with critical connectivity to, through, and beyond Ireland.”

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced and ch-aviation capacities modules, 26 of Aer Lingus’ fleet of 54 aircraft are currently active, operating 24 routes, as opposed to a pre-pandemic tally of more than 100 routes to destinations in the UK and Europe as well as 16 routes to North America.