Qantas Group has managed to raise AUD1.05 billion Australian dollars (USD623 million) in a new round of debt funding, secured against part of its fleet, bolstering its position as it manoeuvres through the coronavirus crisis.

The debt has been “secured against part of the group’s fleet of unencumbered aircraft, which were bought with cash in recent years,” the airline revealed in a statement on March 25. The loan has a tenure of up to 10 years at an interest rate of 2.75%.

Qantas (QF, Sydney Kingsford Smith) raised the financing against seven of its B787-9s, according to Reuters. It currently has 11 of the type, the ch-aviation fleets advanced module shows. The move appears to demonstrate that low-cost funding is still available to airlines with strong fundamentals, despite calls around the world for more government assistance.

The funding increases Qantas’ available cash balance to AUD2.95 billion (USD1.75 billion) with an additional AUD1 billion (USD595 million) undrawn facility remaining available, the company said.

The net debt position of the group, which also includes the fully-owned LCC Jetstar Airways (JQ, Melbourne Tullamarine), “remains at the low end of its target range, at AUD5.1 billion (USD2.95 billion), with no major debt maturities until June 2021,” it added.

With a further AUD3.5 billion (USD2.026 billion) in unencumbered assets, Qantas Group “retains flexibility to increase its cash balance as a prudent measure in the current climate,” it concluded.

Shares in the airline soared on the news, experiencing their biggest-ever one-day gain, rising by 31% before closing 26% higher. Qantas has axed all international flights and temporarily sent two-thirds of its 30,000 employees on leave, yet has so far maintained its investment-grade credit rating. It is also pressing ahead with upgrading the interiors of its fleet of grounded A380-800s.