Jet lessor AviLease, a company launched in 2022 by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, Public Investment Fund (PIF), has signed a $3.6 billion deal to acquire Standard Chartered’s aircraft leasing business.

The deal, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter of the year, includes the acquisition of a portfolio of 100 narrow body aircraft that are on lease to different airlines, according to a statement on Monday.

The new deal will support the aviation sector in the kingdom, especially the economic diversification goals of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, said Fahad Al-Saif, AviLease Chairman.

“We are purchasing a very high-quality portfolio of narrow body aircraft on lease to top-tier airlines globally. The transaction accelerates the scale-up and lessee diversification of our fleet.”

The deal will result in a combined entity that will own and manage 167 aircraft on lease to 46 airlines around the world.

Saudi’s sovereign wealth fund launched AviLease in June 2022 to capitalise on the aircraft leasing market, as part of the kingdom’s strategy to diversify its economy and boost non-oil GDP growth.

 (Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)