Milestone Aviation Group appear on AIN TV, click here to view video
February 13th 2012 – Milestone Aviation Group has ordered 16 EC225 aircraft, the latest-generation member of Eurocopter’s Super Puma/Cougar family, valued at $480 million. The helicopters will be delivered over five years, starting in 2013. The lessor also announced it has agreed to lease five helicopters, two Eurocopter EC-225s and three Sikorsky S-92s, to Bristow Group, making it the lessor’s largest agreement since its launch in August 2010.
Since launching in August 2010, Milestone has provided over US $500 million in finance to operators around the world including Bristow, CHC and Inaer. The partnership between Eurocopter and Milestone is seen as a major development as it ‘removes the capital hurdle related with ownership’ according to Eurocopter’s President and CEO, Lutz Bertling and will allow more operators to introduce the helicopter into their fleets.
Richard Santulli, Chairman of Milestone Aviation Group, said, “This historic order enables Milestone to provide our customers with the best aircraft and product options available. The EC225 has a great pedigree and a reputation for providing leadership in safety and high reliability in demanding operating conditions. I leased all of the original Super Pumas, the EC225’s predecessor, delivered in North America in the 1980s with my old company RTS Helicopters, so this deal signals the resumption of a very important partnership.”
“The EC225 is a remarkable aircraft and we are excited to be able to offer it to abroader audience of potential operators through our partnership with Milestone,” said Lutz Bertling, Eurocopter’s President and CEO. “By removing the capital hurdle associated with ownership we are hopeful that we can introduce the EC225 to more operators around the world.”
Eurocopter’s EC225 offers superior speed, range, payload, optimal safety and reliability. Deployed worldwide for civil and military search and rescue, as well as off-shore and passenger transport missions, it is the latest-generation member of the Super Puma/Cougar family, which has logged more than four million flight hours in operations around the globe. The EC225 is perfectly adapted to missions in severe weather, as it is designed to meet the highest safety standard levels with system redundancy, a highly capable automatic flight control system, and the capability for full deicing – which allows flight in all known icing conditions.
When configured for offshore crew change operations in support of oil and gas producers, the EC225 can be rapidly converted for search and rescue operations.
“We are honoured that Eurocopter has shown this trust in Milestone by partnering on the EC225”, said William Kelly, Milestone’s CEO. “We look forward to working closely with our partners as we place these helicopters with high-quality operators around the world providing mission critical services in the oil and gas industry, parapublic services, mining and search and rescue”
Milestone Aviation Group and Bristow Group announced its lewase agreements at the HAI Heli-Expo. they completed operating leases in December 2011 for two Eurocopter EC-225s deliverable in mid-2012 and anticipate closing the leases for three 2011 Sikorsky S-92 helicopters later this quarter. All five helicopters are expected to operate in the North Sea. The total value of the five aircraft is in the range of $125 to $135 million.
Richard Santulli, Milestone Chairman, said, “We are delighted to enter into a financing relationship with Bristow, which operates the world’s largest fleet of commercial helicopters for the offshore oil and gas industry. Our level of commitment combined with the reputation of this world-class operator truly makes this a landmark deal for Milestone.”
William E. Chiles, Bristow Group President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “The terms of these agreements, with Milestone covering 100% of the acquisition cost of the aircraft, meet our commercial needs to better manage our financial performance. What’s more, Milestone brought capital, creativity and commitment to the transaction process. We look forward to building a broader relationship with the Milestone team in the future.”
According to Milestone helicopter operators are utilizing operating leases more frequently to diversify their capital structure, take advantage of the low capital requirements, improve cash flow, reduce risk and increase operational flexibility. The lessor has positioned itself to structure and execute lease transactions that meet the diverse needs of operators worldwide and also provide capital to operators during periods when alternative sources are limited or unavailable due to market constraints.
This agreement with Bristow Group marks the largest for Milestone Aviation Group since its launch in August 2010. The company currently has an asset portfolio representing more than $500 million in financing commitments and now holds leases with three of the four largest global helicopter operators in the world.
February 14, 2012, 3:25 PM – Helicopter engine manufacturer Turbomeca and aircraft leasing firm Milestone Aviation Group yesterday at Heli-Expo 2012 inked a partnership on a fixed-hourly-cost maintenance program for Milestone customers flying Turbomeca-powered helicopters.
“Through the Global Support Partnership, Turbomeca and Milestone are jointly developing new engine support solutions and services for Milestone’s lease customers around the world,” the companies said. The first support program to be developed is the Milestone Support by the Hour program, which will provide “added value and other ancillary benefits to Milestone’s customers.” Turbomeca will manage this global support partnership using its worldwide network of support sites and numerous affiliate maintenance centers. “We are excited to announce this strategically important collaboration with Milestone,” said Turbomeca chairman and CEO Olivier Andries. “Milestone presents a new opportunity for us to expand our customer base.”
Milestone chairman Richard Santulli said the partnership “will help a large segment of our customers to control their operating costs.” He added that the announcement “is only the beginning.” Milestone COO Matthew Harris told AIN that his company intends to “provide more solutions” with Turbomeca, as well as additional OEMs and suppliers, “to continue to look for ways to add value for our customers.”
by CHAD TRAUTVETTER
13th February, 2012 – Milestone Aviation Group has announced at Heli-Expo that it has reached agreement with Bristow Group to lease five large helicopters.
The companies completed operating leases in December 2011 for two Eurocopter EC225s deliverable in mid-2012 and anticipates closing the leases for three 2011 Sikorsky S-92 helicopters later this quarter. All five helicopters are expected to operate in the North Sea. The total value of the five aircraft is in the range of $125 to $135 million.
Richard Santulli, Milestone chairman said “We are delighted to enter into a financing relationship with Bristow, which operates the world’s largest fleet of commercial helicopters for the offshore oil and gas industry. Our level of commitment combined with the reputation of this world-class operator truly makes this a landmark deal for Milestone.”
William E. Chiles, Bristow Group president and chief executive officer said “The terms of these agreements, with Milestone covering 100% of the acquisition cost of the aircraft, meet our commercial needs to better manage our financial performance. What’s more, Milestone brought capital, creativity and commitment to the transaction process. We look forward to building a broader relationship with the Milestone team in the future.”
February 13, 2012, 11:30 PM – Milestone Aviation Group (Booth No 7010), a helicopter financing company, made a splash at Heli-Expo this year, announcing a $480 million deal with Eurocopter (Booth No. 1917) for 16 EC225s, a contract with Sikorsky Aircraft (Booth No. 6148) for three S-92s (terms not disclosed), and a $125-135 million leasing agreement with major operator Bristow Group for five large helicopters.
Milestone chairman Richard Santulli is used to catching the aviation industry’s attention. His previous job was as founder and CEO of NetJets, which developed the fractional ownership model for business jets. Milestone has provided $500 million in financing for helicopters since opening its doors in 2010.
Santulli said Milestone’s model is different from that of the leasing companies that have been a staple of the airline world for years. “They buy 50 airplanes. That’s all they do,” he told AIN. “Our business is developing partnerships and relationships with operators. Our major paradigm is to provide financial capital to good operators.”
Milestone can offer either lease arrangements or 100 percent financing for helicopter purchases, and works with large operators seeking more flexibility in deploying capital or small operators without the capital to grow. The only requirement is that the helicopters be used in revenue-generating missions rather than executive transport.
The oil and gas industry is playing a large role in Milestone’s growth. When petroleum companies put out tenders or solicitations, operators bidding on the work must include the serial number of any helicopter they intend to use to provide the service. If the operator doesn’t have the lift capacity in its fleet, it may not have the wherewithal to put down a deposit for a delivery position for the helicopter – or take the risk of not getting the contract. But Milestone does.
Milestone will place the order for the needed helicopter, and finance the transaction, if the bidding company gets the contract. If the operator doesn’t get the contract, Milestone is happy to take possession of the aircraft for its leasing business.
“These very good operators around the world can now bid on tenders,” Santulli explained.
CEO William Kelly added, “A lot of the oil and gas companies like that. It gives them other people to compete [for the contract].” For Santulli, the move to Milestone from NetJets has been something of a homecoming. “I started in helicopters. In 1980 I started RTS helicopters.” (Santulli’s initials.) And he brought many of his NetJets colleagues with him, which he said gives the company an unparalleled ability to size up all facets of a potential client’s operation.
As for what it’s like to start Milestone after the huge success of NetJets, Santulli said, “We’re delighted with where we are. To build something again is a nice thing.”
By JAMES WYNBRANDT
Feb 14, 2012 by Terry Spruce – Helicopter engine manufacturer Turbomeca (Safran group) and the Milestone Aviation Group announced at Heli-Expo the beginning of an expansive partnership between the two companies.
Through the Global Support Partnership, Turbomeca and Milestone are jointly developing new engine support solutions and services for Milestone’s lease customers around the world. The first support program to be developed is the unique Milestone Support by the Hour (SBH) program, which will provide added value and other ancillary benefits to Milestone’s customers.
“We are excited to announce this strategically important collaboration with Milestone,” said Olivier Andries, chairman and chief executive of Turbomeca. “Milestone presents a new opportunity for us to expand our customer base through their market leading global lease portfolio of Turbomeca-powered helicopters.”
“This partnership will help a large segment of our customers to control their operating costs,” said Richard Santulli, chairman of Milestone Aviation Group. “The Turbomeca team has proven to be very creative in working with us to develop new support solutions and services. Today’s announcement is only the beginning.”
14 February 2012 – 23:19 by Tony Skinner in Dallas, US
The note of optimism sounded by the various heads of the OEMs about the recovery of the commercial helicopter during Heli-Expo had a ring of reality following the raft of contracts announced during the exhibition.
AgustaWestland, Eurocopter and Sikorsky all signed double-digit contracts for helicopters at the medium to heavy segment, while a number of operators signed for light and intermediate types.
Bond Aviation Group was one company that burnt through the corporate chequebook, coming to a framework agreement with AgustaWestland for 15 helicopters (comprising ten firm orders and five options), including AW169, AW139 and AW189 aircraft, and signing the largest single contract for the Sikorsky S-92, purchasing 16 of the aircraft.
AgustaWestland also announced that Gulf Helicopters of Qatar had signed a preliminary sale contract for 15 AW189 helicopters for offshore transport missions.
Strong sales of the AW139 also continued with the signing of contracts for four additional examples of the medium twin in Japan through its distributor Mitsui Bussan Aerospace. Two of the AW139s will be designated for the civil market and two will be operated by the Japan National Police Agency.
Further, AgustaWestland announced the first sale of a GrandNew light twin helicopter for corporate/VIP transport in the Japanese market following a contract with Kaigai Aviotech Corporation.
Eurocopter also made some significant advances in sales of its larger types, announcing the sale of 16 EC225s to Milestone Aviation Group under a €362 million (US $480 million) contract and ten EC175s to Noordzee Helikopters Vlaanderen (NHV).
In addition, Eurocopter saw sales of one AS350 B3e to Air Greenland, two EC130 B4s to Corail Hélicoptères, one EC145 T2 to HTM Helicopter Travel Munich and four EC145 T2 helicopters to Scandinavian Air Ambulance.
Sikorsky’s announcement of its contract with Bond for 16 S-92s was made alongside news it had sold three of the aircraft to Brazilian helicopter operator Líder Aviação and three to Milestone.
Noticeably, the one major OEM that did not issue a regular stream of contract announcements, Bell Helicopter, arguably created the biggest stir and main talking point of the exhibition with its unveiling of the 525 Relentless Super Medium Transport early in the show.
Feb 13, 2012 by Terry Spruce – Sikorsky Aircraft has announced that Milestone Aviation Group has signed a contract to purchase three S-92 helicopters.
“In a very short time, Milestone Aviation has become one of the pre-eminent helicopter lessors and an important and highly valued customer,” said Bob Kokorda, Sikorsky sales and marketing vice president. “We deeply appreciate their business, and look forward to growing our relationship.”
The three aircraft join an inventory of seven S-76C++ helicopters and four additional S-92 aircraft Milestone has purchased since December of 2010.
The new aircraft will serve a variety of roles with operators worldwide, such as transporting workers to offshore oil and gas platforms, VIP transport including Head of State, air ambulance, search and rescue, and civil defense.
“Our most recent purchase is further testament to the quality of the Sikorsky product line,” said Richard Santulli, chairman of Milestone. “Demand for these machines is extraordinary, and they will quickly enter the field performing mission critical or utility work with operators in the oil and gas, EMS or search and rescue sectors.
Sikorsky plans to deliver the first two S-92 aircraft during the latter part of 2012; and the third aircraft in early 2013.
January 9, 2012
We sat down with advisory board member Brian Humphries who currently serves as the President and Chairman of the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) and Chairman of the British Helicopter Association. His past titles include CEO of Shell Aircraft International and Chairman of the International Business Aviation Council.
We asked Mr. Humphries about the current state of the helicopter industry and where he believes it is headed:
Q: What is your evaluation of the current helicopter market?
A: Like most industries, the civil market for rotor wing aircraft was greatly affected by the world recession. Corporate VIP outfitted aircraft took a considerable hit while bad credits and reduced cash flow reduced spending on new utility outfitted machines. Although we saw a decline, the rotor wing market was kept afloat by increased spending in the paramilitary sector coupled with sustainable growth in offshore oil and gas exploration. “Recession proof” industries like emergency medical services were sustained while civil aircraft sales for police departments and search and rescue efforts declined due to scale backs in government spending. We saw the effect of the global recession but overall, I believe the market is steady today.
Q: What is your prediction on the market forecast for the next five years?
A: I see promising growth in the next five years due to manufacturer innovation and development as well as an overall increase in demand. As manufacturers continue to innovate and provide safer, more technologically advanced aircraft, the need to replace older machines will increase. We see this with Sikorsky and the development of the S-76 with the D model and with Eurocopter and its new EC-175. Both manufacturers claim increased performance and safety measures in comparison to the models’ predecessors. Clients will demand higher safety standards as they come available and helicopter operators will respond accordingly.
Oil companies have announced new projects in the coming years for offshore oil exploration in emerging markets and continued growth in current areas of exploration which will amount to increased demand for heavy offshore configured machines. The demand for paramilitary and civil helicopters will continue to grow, particularly in booming economies with growing populations such as China and India, as well as the continued need for EMS/SAR aircraft.
Q: What has been the greatest challenge for helicopter operators in today’s market?
A: It is the same challenge they have always faced; barrier to entry. Operators must find and secure aircraft to bid on and execute contracts. With most utility helicopters ranging from $1 – 30 million, operators often find it challenging to secure financing in order to stay competitive. Some turn to traditional debt financing that requires money down and is often restrictive on aircraft registration. Others attempt to own all of their aircraft, making it essential to turn over their fleets in order to purchase new machines. The barrier to bidding on and executing a contract is the cost of the machine. The solution lies in the financing.
Q: How do you believe the “Milestone Solution” is affecting the marketplace?
A: Milestone brings a creative financing solution to the table with what I believe to be its three most important offerings; 100% financing, the ability to finance aircraft registered anywhere in the world and contingent pricing. Milestone’s dry operating lease structures give operators the ability to bid on contracts worldwide without an upfront financial commitment. Milestone has found a way to eliminate the “barrier” by easing the financing burden on operators coupled with conveniences such as marrying up lease commencements and term lengths with underlying contracts, sale-leasebacks on existing assets and assuming progress payments on new deliveries. It is a new and unique offering to the helicopter market and we have seen it in action. Milestone’s portfolio consists of both large and small operators with fleets ranging from 3 to 490 aircraft. They are helping operators grow and become more profitable regardless of their size.