Etihad Rail signs $542mn deal with FAB to finance passenger transport services

By Arya M Nair, Official Reporter
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Etihad Rail
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Etihad Rail, the developer and operator of the UAE National Rail Network, and the UAE’s largest lender by assets First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) has signed an agreement for financing railway passenger transport services, with a total value of $542 million.

The agreement, which was signed by Eng. Shadi Malak, Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Rail, and Ms. Hana Al Rostamani, Group Chief Executive Officer at FAB, comes as part of the UAE National Railways Program, the largest land transport system of its kind in the UAE, where FAB will be the Certified Lead Arranger for the loan.

Etihad Rail’s passenger services will be the first-of-its-kind, connecting the cities and regions of the UAE. The project is one of the three strategic projects of the National Railways Program, which was launched by the UAE government in December 2021.

The Program forms the largest land transport system in the UAE, which is set to outline the future of the railway sector in the coming years, in addition to providing freight rail and integrated transportation services.

Shadi Malak
Shadi Malak
CEO – Etihad Rail

“Through this agreement, we will move full steam ahead with our mission to provide passenger railway services, which will bolster the public transport system in the UAE and the wider region. Etihad Rail is an essential component of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) rail network, and this agreement brings us one step closer towards realizing our strategic goals of strengthening the UAE’s reputation as a regional and global transport hub.”

With the launch of the railway passenger services, the passenger trains will strengthen connectivity between the UAE by linking 11 cities and locations in the country from Al Sila to Fujairah. Traveling at a speed of 200 kmph, 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 travel 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.

Ms. Al Rostamani, said that “Etihad Rail is proof of the sense of vision and purpose that makes the UAE distinct. By connecting the United Arab Emirates 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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