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UPDATE 1-IAG secures $1.76 bln in credit to bolster finances of its COVID-hit airlines

(Adds share movement, detail on deal, liquidity, background)

March 23 (Reuters) - British Airways owner IAG said on Tuesday it had secured a $1.76 billion credit facility from a group of banks that would be available to its coronavirus-hit airlines Aer Lingus, British Airways and Iberia.

The travel sector was dealt a fresh blow this week when Britons were warned not to book summer holidays abroad, deepening fears of a second straight lost summer as Europe’s slow and chaotic vaccine rollout undermines expectations of a rebound.

Shares of IAG were down 4.6% by 1618 GMT.

The company said in a statement on Tuesday that the three airlines would have a separate borrowing limit within the overall three-year facility.

“Amounts drawn would be secured against eligible unencumbered aircraft assets and take-off and landing rights at both London Heathrow and London Gatwick airports,” it said.

IAG also said that British Airways had simultaneously cancelled its U.S. dollar facility, which had $786 million available at December-end and was due to expire on June 23.

IAG’s total liquidity is estimated to be 10.3 billion euros ($12.22 billion) as of March 31, it said. ($1 = 0.8427 euros) (Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)

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