The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union's financing institution, has just signed a contract to lend USD 110 million (LUF 3.9 billion) (1) to help fund modernisation and expansion of Cargolux's freighter fleet. This loan has been advanced in the framework of Cargolux's ongoing programme to create a uniform fleet based on the new Boeing 747/400F, currently the largest civil freighter available on the market. These new aircraft will replace Boeing 747/200Fs, thereby enabling Cargolux to increase the capacity and productivity of its long-haul routes to the Americas, Africa and the Far East.

This operation has been concluded with a banking syndicate comprising Luxembourg's Banque et Caisse d'Epargne de l'Etat, Banque Internationale à Luxembourg, Südwestdeutsche Landesbank, Landesbank Sachsen, Norddeutsche Landesbank, Landesbank Rheinland Pfalz, Landesbank Hessen Thüringen, Banque Générale du Luxembourg and Landesbank Schleswig-Holstein.

Already in December 1997, the EIB contributed to the first phase of Cargolux's capital expenditure programme by helping to finance the purchase of two Boeing 747/400Fs.

The new 747/400F aircraft, equipped with Rolls-Royce engines, consume 16% less fuel than the earlier 747/200Fs. In addition, they have a maximum payload of 129 tonnes compared with 119 for the previous model, while their take-off footprint is reduced by 50% and their emissions, notably of carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides, are significantly lower. Lastly, increasing Cargolux's fleet capacity with four new Boeing 747/400Fs is expected to generate a total of some 50 new jobs.

(1) The conversion rates used by the EIB for statistical purposes during the current quarter are those on obtaining on 30 September 1998, when ECU 1 = LUF 40.48, GBP 0.69, IEP 0.79 and USD 1.17159.