Multi-million Airbus used by Iglesia leaders being sold
MANILA, Philippines – The multi-million-dollar Airbus 330-202 which the leadership of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) has been using for trips abroad has been put on the market for “immediate” lease or sale, informed sources told Rappler.
Listed under “used Airbuses” on the myairlease.com site as of May 2015, the Airbus 330-200 had a list price of $229 million (P10.3 billion). Its “used price maximum” was listed as $90.01 million (over P4 billion), while its “used price minimum” was $28.03 million (P1.26 billion).
Myairlease.com “provides services and data to professionals involved with transactions and management of commercial aircraft” and engines, among others.
The use of the expensive aircraft by leaders of the Iglesia ni Cristo has been criticized by Iglesia followers as “excessive luxury” which the former INC head, Eraño Manalo, did not lavish upon himself. The elder Manalo died in August 2009, paying "for commercial travel even if back then he had enough funds to do this type of spending.”
Now headed by Eraño's son Eduardo, the influential INC is entangled in its worst crisis yet, following allegations of corruption and excesses among members of the Sanggunian or Council. Described as hierarchical and tightly run, it was founded in the Philippines more than a century ago.
The maximum price listing (over P4 billion) of the Airbus mirrors a depreciation rate of almost 50% in just a span of 3 years.
The price of a new Airbus was estimated to be anywhere from P8.8 billion ($200 million) to P11 billion ($250 million). Long-term lease was said to cost from P225 million to P270 million ($5 million to $6 million).
Listed for sale
The online listing indicated as contact the DVB Bank in Singapore and a certain Jonathan Louch, who is the bank’s senior vice president for aviation asset management.
DVB Bank describes itself as “the leading specialist in international transport finance.” Louch, on the other hand, is identified as being in charge of “remarketing, contracting and lease management of commercial jet aircraft for and on behalf of third parties and DVB Bank.”
The Airbus’ year of manufacture and manufacturer serial number matched information we previously acquired.
A Rappler story published just a little over a week ago (on July 25) said that based on online documents, the plane, with serial number 1321, was manufactured in 2012 and was registered on July 19 of the same year.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands listed “Skytrooper Limited” as the registered owner of the aircraft. Skytrooper Limited is a company in the Cayman Islands.
Informed sources in the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said the Airbus left Manila last June 21 and returned from Taiwan on July 5. Iglesia executive minister Eduardo Manalo traveled to Taipei at the time to officially establish Taiwan as an ecclesiastical district. The aircraft is usually parked at the Clark Airbase hangar in Angeles City, and hasn’t left the Philippines since its return from Taiwan last month.
Manalo also used the Airbus to go to Seattle in Washington as part of a series of pastoral visits.
The other plane also owned by Skytrooper in the Cayman Islands and used by Iglesia leaders, a Boeing 737-700 IGW model, left Manila on June 27 for Seletar, Singapore, and has not returned since then, the same CAAP insiders disclosed.
When earlier asked about the two expensive planes being used by the Iglesia, INC spokesman Brother Edwil Zabala said he did not have personal knowledge about them.
The Boeing 737, registered in December 2011, was purchased at an estimated price of about P3.6 billion ($80 million), according to sources. Yearly maintenance costs of these types of aircraft, according to those in the know, easily amount to a conservative P3 million. This excludes fuel and other flight expenses.
As of Tuesday, August 4, it has not been put on the market. – Rappler.com