UAE: Etihad Rail & FAB ink $540m loan deal to drive expansion of UAE passenger railway


Etihad Rail and First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), the UAE’s largest lender, have signed a loan agreement for the financing of railway passenger transport services valued at nearly AED2 billion ($540 million).

The AED1.99 billion deal comes as part of the UAE National Railways Programme, the largest land transport system of its kind in the country, where First Abu Dhabi Bank will be the certified lead arranger for the loan.

Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court, and chairman of Etihad Rail, and Sheikh Mohamed Bin Saif Bin Mohamed Al Nahyan, vice chairman of FAB on Thursday witnessed the signing.

The launch of the railway passenger services will strengthen connectivity between the UAE by connecting 11 cities and locations in the country from Al Sila to Fujairah.

Travelling at a speed of 200kmp/hr, with a capacity of 400 passengers per train, the number of passengers is expected to increase to reach more than 36.5 million passengers annually across the country by 2030.

Passengers will be able to commute between Abu Dhabi to Dubai in only 50 minutes, between Abu Dhabi and Fujairah in only 100 minutes, between Dubai and Fujairah in only 50 minutes, and between Abu Dhabi and Al Ruwais in only 70 minutes.

Etihad Rail said in a statement that it is forging ahead towards completing stage two of the UAE National Rail Network.

etihad rail

Stage one has been operational since 2016. The project is progressing at an accelerated pace with 70 percent of the project being completed in less than 24 months, despite the challenges of the pandemic.

The project involves more than 27,000 workers operating at more than 3,000 construction sites across the UAE.

Shadi Malak, CEO of Etihad Rail, said: “Through this agreement, we will move full steam ahead with our mission to provide passenger railway services, which will bolster public transport system in the UAE and the wider region.”

Hana Al Rostamani, group CEO at First Abu Dhabi Bank, said: “By connecting the UAE through a fully integrated rail network, Etihad Rail will bring significant economic and social benefits to the businesses and communities it serves, empowering future growth and providing opportunities for all.

“FAB is proud to support Etihad Rail in fulfilling this important project which will drive forward economic development for our nation.”

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