Walkers Acts on Delta Air Line's US$9 Billion Loyalty Programme Financing

Walkers acted as Cayman Islands counsel to Goldman Sachs Lending Partners LLC in the world's second multi-billion dollar financing using an airline's loyalty programme as security. The matter involved US$6 billion of senior secured high yield bonds and US$3 billion of senior secured term loans to SkyMiles IP Ltd., an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines, Inc. (“Delta”) and to Delta itself. The financing is secured by Delta's loyalty program, SkyMiles, and guaranteed by three other wholly-owned Delta subsidiaries.

According to On Point Loyalty's research, Delta's SkyMiles loyalty programme ranks as the most valuable airline rewards programme globally, with an estimated value of approximately US$25.9 billion.

Barclays, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley joined Goldman Sachs to act as joint lead arrangers and multiple institutional banks, including Standard Chartered and Wells Fargo, acted as joint bookrunners in the transaction. The Delta deal follows in the footsteps of a the world's first financing transaction utilising a US airline's loyalty program, on which Walkers also acted as Goldman's Cayman counsel.

Walkers was instructed by US law firm Milbank and was led by Cayman Islands partners Philip Paschalides, Barnaby Gowrie and Lucy Frew with Hong Kong partner Shamar Ennis, senior counsels Sarah Humpleby and Brett Basdeo and associates Arleth Ebanks, Shanine Felix, Alexandra Franklin and Christopher Carroll also acting on the matter.