UAL Says Boeing, Airbus Aid Helps on Plane Financing

United Airlines probably can get financing for its 50-plane order from traditional lenders because of guarantees provided by Boeing Co. (BA) and Airbus SAS, the carrier’s chief executive officer said.

“The proportion that we got from both of them was sufficient to make probable the incremental financing from more traditional financing sources,” Glenn Tilton, CEO of the UAL Corp. unit, said today in Brussels. He was at an event involving United’s partners in the Star Alliance marketing group.

United, the third-largest U.S. carrier, yesterday announced the order of 25 aircraft each from Boeing and Airbus and said the planemakers agreed to provide “significant” financing if the airline can’t get it elsewhere. Chicago-based United hasn’t given specifics on how it will pay for the planes, which would cost $10 billion based on list prices.

Airlines typically seek financing for aircraft from banks and specialized lenders such as General Electric Co. (GE)’s GE Capital, American International Group Inc. (AIG)’s ILFC unit or RBS Aviation Capital. The manufacturers usually are a last resort for the funding.

Tilton also said United and Star Alliance partners Continental Airlines Inc. and All Nippon Airways Co. (9202) plan to seek antitrust immunity “as soon as possible” after U.S. and Japanese officials reach a so-called open skies agreement that would ease restrictions on flights between the two nations.

The immunity would let United cooperate with its partners on prices and scheduling on Pacific routes.

Asked whether the group would get a favorable outcome, Tilton said: “I wouldn’t file if I didn’t think it would be approved.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Jonathan Stearns in Brussels at jstearns2@bloomberg.net; Mary Jane Credeur in Atlanta at mcredeur@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jamie Butters at jbutters@bloomberg.net

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