LCI’s $645m Airbus Helicopters order as EC225e launch customer
25 February 2014
Lease Corporation International (LCI), the Libra Group’s aviation leasing arm, will acquire as many as 21 new Airbus Helicopters rotorcraft in a contract involving both the next-generation EC175 and the newly-unveiled EC225e. The total contract value is estimated in commercial terms to be around US$645 million with delivery scheduled to commence in 2016.
The major commitment was announced today at the 2014 Heli-Expo convention in Anaheim, California, marking LCI’s initial transaction with Airbus Helicopters. It involves up to 6 orders for the EC175, along with as many as 15 of the Super Puma family’s EC225e version when it becomes available.
“This is our first contract with Airbus Helicopters, and we are delighted to be entering into partnership with them,” said LCI Executive Chairman Crispin Maunder. “Airbus Helicopters has a world-renowned reputation in the industry, and the availability of these particular models will be very attractive to our expanding customer base as they continually demand the latest technology helicopters. We are very happy to support them by providing quality aircraft together with innovative financing.”
All of the ordered aircraft will be deployed among LCI’s global lessee base through its helicopter leasing division – which was established in early 2012 and has quickly became a major name in the sector.
“LCI’s order validates our high expectations for the future of the EC175, which is confirmed as a top choice among oil and gas operators,” added Airbus Helicopters President Guillaume Faury. “In addition, we couldn’t be happier having LCI as a launch customer for the EC225e – a helicopter we’ve developed to respond to operators’ requirements for extended-range missions, particularly in support of deep-water oil and gas airlift duties.”
As a member of Airbus Helicopters’ workhorse Super Puma family, the new twin-engine EC225e version announced today at Heli-Expo has enhanced capabilities that include more payload, an additional fuel tank for very long range flights, a new cabin layout for improved passenger comfort and new avionics to significantly increase pilots’ situational awareness while reducing workload.
The EC225e will be powered by new Turbomeca Makila 2B turboshaft engines for improved performance and a range-of-action extended to 180 nautical miles with 10 passengers. Incorporating a new combustion chamber and high-power turbine blades, the Makila 2B will enable takeoffs at the helicopter’s maximum all-up weight in CAT A conditions. Certification of the EC225e is targeted for late 2015, followed by the start-up of deliveries in mid-2016.
The LCI order for Airbus Helicopters’ EC175 expands the customer base for this twin-engine rotorcraft, which received European certification in January. As a versatile helicopter, it is capable of missions ranging from oil and gas, search and rescue, and emergency medical services to homeland security, police and corporate/business aviation. The EC175 can accommodate two pilots with up to18 passengers and a maximum weight of 7,500 kg. (16,535 lb.) in all configurations.
Incorporated in the EC175 is Airbus Helicopters’ new Helionix® avionics suite, which provides increased safety through reduced pilot workload, enhanced situational awareness, improved flight envelope protection and system redundancy.
Airbus Helicopters has committed significant resources to ensure optimized aircraft maturity and a successful service entry for the EC175, supported by a dedicated task force and tools that include validated support and services deliverables, along with the establishment of training capabilities. As part of this strategy, the company is locating Level D full-flight simulators and other training systems in France and the U.S.
About LCI (www.lciaviation.com) LCI is owned by Libra Group (www.libra.com), an international business group with 30 subsidiaries operating across five continents. Libra Group’s subsidiaries are primarily focused on aviation, shipping, hospitality, energy and real estate. Since its inception in 2004, LCI has acquired fixed wing and rotary aircraft with a value of around US$6 billion. LCI is also a launch customer for the Bombardier CSeries with a US$1.4 billion order for up to forty aircraft. Its helicopter leasing division was established in 2012 with a US$400m order for AgustaWestland helicopters. More recently KKR Financial Holdings agreed to invest more than $100 million in LCI’s helicopter unit to tap growing demand from the oil and gas sector.