flydubai, Dubai ’s innovative low-cost airline, has taken delivery of the first of three Boeing 737-800NG aircraft financed through a $117.5 million loan agreement with the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank).

Its arrival takes flydubai’s fleet size to 26 aircraft in operation. The next two aircraft will arrive in November and December, meaning by the end of 2012, the airline will have 28 aircraft.

Over the last three years since flydubai launched it has successfully financed its fleet primarily through sale and leaseback agreements and market appetite for similar funding to flydubai remains strong.  This deal is an endorsement that flydubai has reached a level of maturity and size that other financing sources can be accessed.  flydubai’s financial position, its sustainable growth and achievements are additional important factors in demonstrating that this is also the right time to explore alternative financing opportunities.  Moreover, it  represents a first financing for Ex-Im Bank of Boeing aircraft to flydubai.

This year has also witnessed significant network expansion with the addition of six new routes to date (Bucharest, Sana’a, Basra, Najaf, Bishkek and Taif) and a further two to follow: Skopje, the capital of Macedonia is scheduled to launch on 18 October and Tabuk, Saudi Arabia on 07 November.

In addition to these new routes, there has been a 41% increase in the number of flights across the network between August 2011 and August of this year. This, coupled with the airline’s established reliability, has created far more flexibility for both business and leisure travellers.

flydubai’s CEO, Ghaith Al Ghaith, said: “This landmark agreement with Ex-Im Bank is further proof of flydubai’s continued achievements. In our short history we have already achieved a great deal but what is truly exciting for us is that we have only just begun.

“Dubai’s reputation is firmly established on the world stage as a popular tourist destination, a financial centre and a trade and logistics hub. Its visionary decision to invest in becoming a leading global aviation hub and the fact that there is a population of over 2.5 billion within our geographic reach is a scenario that creates tremendous opportunity for us as an airline and we intend to fully capitalise on this.

“The Ex-Im Bank agreement, as important as it is, ultimately represents just another step on our journey. I can also state with conviction that as we grow we remain absolutely committed to delivering an experience defined by affordable fares across our network and giving our customers as much choice as possible.”

flydubai operates from Terminal 2 on the north side of Dubai International Airport, which is currently the fourth largest in the world by passenger traffic.