Vietcombank will grant a credit loan of 160 million USD to the national carrier Vietnam Airlines (VA) to buy aircraft next year.

This was announced at a ceremony held for the signing of the agreement between the two parties on December 18. The loan will be used to buy eight Boeing B787-9 and 10 Airbus A350-XWB aircraft.

Vietcombank became one of VA's largest investors on November 14, when the company launched an initial public offering on the HCM City Stock Exchange.

The Boeing B787-9 Dreamliner and Airbus A350 – 900 XWB have modern and wide bodies made of advanced materials to minimise fuel consumption and maintenance costs, and improve their economic benefits.

The two kinds of planes will be put into operation in Vietnam by 2015. They will play a strategic role in the carrier's plan to launch long international routes.

On November 15, VA received an Airbus A321 at the Noi Bai International Airport , the 23rd of a total 26 Airbus A321s that VA is buying during the 2011-15 period.

This is the third aircraft that has been paid by a loan from Vietcombank.

Chairman of Vietcombank Executive Board Nghiem Xuan Thanh said that being a leading commercial bank in Vietnam , Vietcombank has for many years seen VA as one of its largest clients, and both shared a traditional and long-term relationship.

Vietcombank is the domestic bank that has granted the largest loan to VA, especially for projects to develop an aircraft fleet.

VA General Director Pham Ngoc Minh said that the firm will begin renewing its aircraft fleet with Boeing 787-9s and Airbus A350-900s from mid-2015.

The airline operates a young fleet of 83 aircraft, which includes mostly Boeing 777s, Airbus A330s and Airbus A321s.

VA became an official member of the SkyTeam Alliance on June 10, 2010, and also is the first representative of the alliance in Southeast Asia.-VNA