While one should congratulate Ethiopian Airlines for securing a $765 million package deal to finance five 777s, I hope the banks checked more than just their credit history and their relationship with the banks.
In terms of technological adulthood, Africa is still in its infancy. The pressure put on even a fairly reputable airline company like this to keep up with maintenance and pilot training is immense. It is succeed, or else. Or else, they call the loan and repo the planes. Or else there is a catastrophe and people lose their lives.
If all is ok when plane is leased but two years later airline gets a rap for bad maintenance or pilot training or any of the hundreds of other things that could happen, then the lease co or bank needs to step in and use their clout to demand changes/corrections, or face the consequences. Their contract should have teeth, with consequences that matter enough to the lessee to compel them to action, such as the right to repo that plane for maintenance or neglect issues, or pilot training issues, just as if the lessee were not making their payments. Lenders are pretty good at covering their investment by including clauses like this. Such a provision may already exist. The clause is not window dressing. It can be acted upon. Not for money’s sake. For the sake of lives.
Yes, lives are at stake here. Banks have a duty to monitor the lessee or buyer they entrust, and a duty as well to supervise not only the money but keep up with what is being purchased with the money. Entrusting a less than capable entity in ownership and maintenance of a jet worth millions is certainly dangerous instrumentality. Sufficient time should be allocated to responsible due diligence, beyond the loan/lease, to monitor not only timely payments but also if the company is living up to aggressive guidelines of maintenance and training.
These planes bought with this money, like all other airplanes but especially jets, are weapons of mass destruction. Even if they are not used in a deliberately terrorist act, inexperienced pilots and shotty maintenance can cause that plane to crash and become a weapon for those on board and for those on the ground.