Air ambulance interior design and technology – AirMed&Rescue

The interior of an air ambulance has to be meticulously designed to incorporate the right equipment, and ensure that this equipment is to hand when the medical crew needs it. Mandy Langfield considers the latest developments in aircraft interior design

It all starts, of course, with the selection of the aircraft itself – its size, its adaptability and its original purpose. While there are still jets in use that were originally designed as business aircraft and have been adapted for medical use, the more modern aircraft available for purchase are designed to be multi-purpose from their inception, and are thus better suited to their roles when it comes to ergonomics, ease of access to, and loading of, patients, and enhanced comfort for crews.

Pilatus had already enjoyed success with air ambulance operators thanks to its PC-12, which was rugged enough to cope with unpaved runways in Australia and Africa and pick up patients from the most remote locations in these areas. Its new PC-24 has improved on this template, with an increased operations level and faster top speed making it even more in demand. The fact its cabin altitude can be maintained at sea level up to Flight Level 230 is a specific bonus for critical care. Ignaz Gretener, VP General Aviation at Pilatus, told AirMed&Rescue: “Based on the demanding customer requirements, Pilatus offers a fully customised medical interior which was developed in a joint partnership with a renowned Swiss EMS interior manufacturer after the latest standards in industry.” Aerolite is the aircraft’s interior manufacturer, and the development of the design for the air ambulance interior also had input from the Royal Flying Doctor Service, which hopes to accept its new aircraft in October and November of this year. Oscar Schwenk, Chairman of Pilatus, said that the air ambulance market is ‘a perfect fit’ for the PC-24: “This is a growing niche,” he says, “and the PC-24, with its many features – such as a large cargo door, roomy cabin and short-field performance – is a perfect fit for this market.”

Roland Hengartner, CEO of Aerolite AG, noted that the Pilatus PC-24’s wider cargo door means that in developing the customised medical interior, Aerolite could take advantage of the increased size with a stretcher loading device that allows for easier and safer patient loading.

Martin Siegrist, Senior Vice-President Technical at LCI, an aircraft leasing organisation, pointed out that patient care is now a key driver of aircraft design, particularly helicopters. He said: “The dimensions of the cabin, and the space available for medical crew to operate in, must be optimised to permit full access to the entire patient body from both sides at all stages of the flight. High ceilings provide for a more comfortable working environment, as does the ability to rotate and move the platform.”

The capacity to choose between different cabin configurations (i.e. positioning the stretcher in transversal or longitudinal direction) means that aircraft can also be further optimised for different mission types. “A wide and regular cabin allows medical equipment to be stored in dedicated areas close to the patient and easily accessible to the medical crew,” said Siegrist, “while the provision of a spacious, separate bagging compartment means that rescue equipment can be stored without compromising the working environment.”

Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation offers a wide variety of interior customisation options, as it configures each medevac aircraft based on each customer’s specific needs. “Every medevac aircraft is equipped with an electric patient loading system and can include a wide array of options,” explained Rich Nevitt, Director for Gulfstream’s Special Missions business development unit. “Typical integrated systems include oxygen, suction and compressed air components, permanent medical beds, ample oxygen capacity and electrical outlets for medical equipment. All Gulfstream aircraft are engineered for passenger and patient comfort, with 100-per-cent fresh air distribution, soundproofing and low vibration.”

Gulfstream has made considerable advancements in medevac cabin design over the years – from the functionality of the medical environment to medical crew ergonomics. The company recently designed and delivered a state-of-the-art Gulfstream G550 medevac to the Beijing Red Cross Emergency Medical Center. With the admirable aim of revolutionising in-flight medical care, the aircraft has been designed to provide emergency crews with the most effective – and safe – access to patients possible. “For example,” continued Nevitt, “the aircraft features a transitional operating table for 360-degree in-flight patient access – a medevac first. An exclusive patient loading system and well-positioned medical equipment provide safe and efficient access to and from the aircraft’s cabin.” Gulfstream medevac interiors are designed with many of the same health attributes as other Gulfstream aircraft – including low cabin altitude pressure, advances in noise reduction and 100-per-cent fresh air. These optimal features contribute to an ideal medevac environment for critical care patients – and for medical professionals providing life-sustaining support.

To view the original article, click here

CI’S NIGEL LEISHMAN TALKS TO SINGAPORE TONIGHT

LCI’s Executive VP & Global Head of Marketing, Nigel Leishman, was recently a guest on Channel NewsAsia’s flagship programme, Singapore Tonight, to provide expert commentary on Asia’s fast-growing helicopter markets and mission segments, including the growth of the EMS and air ambulance market in China, Korea and Taiwan, and the importance of the oil and gas market in Malaysia.

Watch the full interview below.

HAI: Helicopter industry sees positive signs amid utility push – FlightGlobal

Helicopter industry executives believe the market is showing signs of life, while also driving demand for multirole rotorcraft, despite ongoing lacklustre sales.

“I see signs around the world of a gradual improvement,” says Crispin Maunder, executive chairman of lessor Lease Corporation International (LCI).

“It’s hardly a bonanza,” he added, speaking at the HAI Heli-Expo event earlier this month. “[But] we are seeing more activity.”

That includes LCI’s announcement that it delivered two rotorcraft – one Leonardo Helicopters AW139 and one AW189 – in March to Malaysian operator Weststar Aviation Services, a company that serves the oil and gas industry.

“Customers are looking for more utility,” says Samir Mehta, president of the mechanical systems business unit at Collins Aerospace, which makes equipment for helicopters including cargo loading systems and hoists.

In previous years, operators tended to acquire mission-specific platforms. But the oil and gas industry downturn in particular has both reduced demand for helicopters overall and left operators increasingly seeking aircraft capable of being converted to serve multiple missions – “pick-up trucks” of the helicopter world, Mehta notes.

“What you have is machines that are fewer in number… being asked to do more,” he says.

Demand for more utility drove Sikorsky’s announcement at HAI Heli-Expo that it is offering a new, more-versatile variant of its S-92 heavy-twin helicopter.

The newly configured aircraft, called the S-92B, has a cabin that can be converted quickly from offshore missions to search-and-rescue work, giving the aircraft “more multi-mission capability”.

Oil and gas sector weakness has also led companies to shy away from signing the long-term operating contracts that were once standard, seeking those of shorter duration instead.

But short-term contracts leave helicopter operators, managers and lessors less able to make accurate long-term fleet decisions, driving up business inefficiencies, says Maunder.

“There are big clouds on the horizon that need to clear away before we feel comfortable,” he says.

To view the original article, click here

LCI Adds to Australasia Leased Helicopter Fleet – AIN

Libra Group subsidiary Lease Corp. International (LCI, Booth C3223) has expanded its relationship with Malaysia-based rotorcraft operator Weststar Aviation Services through the delivery of two new helicopters a Leonardo AW139 and an AW189. They will join a previously delivered LCI AW189, which is already in service. The new medium-twin helicopters will be used to support Weststar’s offshore operations in Kerteh and Miri.

The leasing company also noted that customer Babcock International Group has repositioned two AW139s from its operation in Aberdeen, UK, to Karratha, in western Australia, where they will be operated by Babcock’s Australasia concern in the offshore oil-and-gas role. The two helicopters will join LCI’s 12 AW139s already based in Australia, 10 of which are engaged in EMS operations, including six operated by Babcock for Air Ambulance Victoria.

“Australia is a dynamic market, with huge long-term potential across a range of operating sectors, and has been a major commercial priority for LCI since we entered the helicopter leasing market in 2012,” noted Crispin Maunder, the company’s executive chairman.

LCI, which will celebrate its 15th anniversary this year as an aircraft leasing company, specializes in medium twin-engine helicopters, and the additions in Australia expand its presence in the Asia-Pacific region, which now accounts for more than 40 percent of the company’s fleet. It currently has 48 rotorcraft in its portfolio, all but one purchased new, and an additional 21 helicopters under management. Combined with helicopters on order, that represents nearly $1 billion in equipment.

In addition to Australia, the company’s helicopters are currently operating in the U.S., Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia, and, as of this past year, China, which Maunder describes as an exciting, yet challenging market. EMS provider Shanghai Kingwing, through its operator Weststar, took on the leases of three AW139s. “We see steady growth in EMS,” Maunder told AIN. “Lots of new contracts coming up in Europe, certain parts of Asia and certainly North America as well.”

EMS operations currently occupy nearly half of the LCI fleet, while 25 percent are used for offshore oil-and-gas. The remainder is deployed in offshore wind-turbine servicing, search and rescue, and training.

Maunder has also seen what he describes as limited growth in the oil-and-gas usage, which he believes could be attributed to the replacement of older equipment or the downsizing of equipment. “I think the oil industry has probably pushed the operators too far, and hence you’re seeing uncertainty and poor financial results coming from the larger helicopter operators,” he opined. “That doesn’t do anyone any good in this industry, and there needs to be some rational thinking here as to what we’re all trying to achieve.”

To view the article, click here

CHC orders H175 aircraft for UK offshore fleet – Energy Voice

CHC Helicopter has signed a deal with Lease Corporation International (LCI) to add another Airbus H175 to its UK offshore operations.

The aircraft will enter service in December.

It is LCI’s second aircraft placement with CHC in recent months, with the delivery of another H175 at the end of last year.

LCI – the aviation branch of the Libra Group – says the aircraft, which weighs 7.8 tonnes, carries 16 passengers, is in the super-medium category, and has a primary mission of supporting offshore oil and gas activities.

Industry leaders have praised the introduction of the model, which have provided another alternative to 225s, a model no longer used in the North Sea following a crash in Norway.

Karl Fessenden, president and chief executive officer of CHC, said: “LCI Helicopters is a valuable partner for us as we continue to introduce the H175 in the UK.

“We are happy to enter a second lease for this aircraft type with them.”

To view the article,  click here

Heli-Expo 2019: LCI seeks growth in Asia – Rotorhub

Lease Corporation International (LCI) is targeting strong growth in Asia-Pacific, with the lessor expecting up to half of its fleet to be active in the region in the coming years.

Speaking to Shephard, ahead of HAI Heli-Expo 2019, LCI’s CEO, Michael Platt said Asia-Pacific already accounts for more than 40% of the company’s fleet, ‘and given the expected growth and replacement needs, I can see that growing to 50% over time’.

He described China in particular as a hugely exciting market. LCI has seen some recent success in the country, securing a deal with Shanghai Kingwing Aviation in summer 2018 to lease three new AW139 platforms to the operator for EMS work.

Beyond EMS, LCI is seeing increased interest from China’s offshore oil and gas operators, who are upgrading their domestic fleets and expanding their international presence, Platt said.

He expects Australia and New Zealand to continue upgrading their EMS fleets, which are already the largest in the region, while he also highlighted recent EMS contracts awarded by South Korea and Taiwan.

Oil and gas remains a major sector in the region as a whole, he added, ‘especially Malaysia, Indonesia, and Australia, where we have seen a recent uptick in contracts and tenders, with a preference from operators for new-generation helicopters’.

The energy sector globally has been through an incredibly difficult time since the collapse of oil prices in 2014, Platt said. Moving into the Q2 2019, demand for oil is at an all-time high, though oil companies are still pursuing the lowest possible costs.

LCI has always sought to diversify its fleet away from a reliance on oil and gas, Platt added: over half the company’s fleet is on long-term EMS contracts, while the offshore energy domain makes up a maximum of 25% of its portfolio.
Platt highlighted a number of other sectors with strong potential in the medium term, notably wind power; while this is still small, it is likely to triple in size by 2025. Turbine efficiencies are improving, he added, making wind energy more attractive on a cost-per-unit basis.

The company has AW139 and AW169 platforms supporting offshore wind farms in Europe, and is monitoring developments in markets like Taiwan.

He also pointed to markets like the transfer of maritime pilots, as well as SAR, which is showing more potential due to the privatisation of the work in countries like the UK. Finally, Platt said LCI sees a growing demand for asset management services, where it conducts work on behalf of other helicopter investors.

Heli-Expo is an opportunity for LCI to speak with representatives from companies across its value chain, both customers and suppliers, Platt said.

‘At these events, it is important not to dwell on what has gone wrong over the last few years, but to talk about how we learn from our collective experiences, how we make things better and sustainable, and how we can all work together to create version 2.0 of the helicopter leasing industry that will be healthy and profitable for years to come.’

To view the original article, click here

Leasing on the Rise – AsianSkyMedia

WORKING AT LEASE CORPORATION INTERNATIONAL (LCI), A COMMERCIAL AIRCRAFT AND HELICOPTER LEASING COMPANY WHICH IS GROWING ITS INFLUENCE IN ASIA, MR. LEISHMAN SHARES THE COMPANY’S MOST RECENT EXPANSION, THE MANY BENEFITS OF LEASING AN AIRCRAFT AND THE TREND IN DIFFERENT HELICOPTER MISSION SEGMENTS ACROSS ASIA PACIFIC.

WHEN DID LCI OPEN ITS OFFICE IN ASIA?

LCI has been active in the Asia Pacific region since starting operations in 2004. After our acquisition of a Boeing 747-400F on lease to Singapore Airlines Cargo in 2008, we subsequently grew to be the largest lessor to Singapore Airlines before launching LCI Helicopters in 2012.

As our focus has moved towards helicopters, we’ve recently expanded our Singapore office with the appointment of Chris Lloyd as Vice President Marketing and John Gumulak as Technical Director. Chris ran Lloyd Helicopters for over 20 years, while John worked for Leonardo and an Australian AW139 operator. We’ve also appointed Lan Cao as our Senior Advisor for China based in Beijing. Lan was instrumental in securing our first domestic helicopter leases in China last year, for three new AW139s with Shanghai Kingwing Aviation and helped establish our new company in the Tianjin Dongjiang Free Trade Port (DFTP) Zone to efficiently structure operating leases in the country.

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR LCI IN ASIA?

Asia-Pacific currently accounts for over 40% of our fleet, and given the expected growth and replacement needs, I can see that growing to 50% over time. We have aircraft on lease in China, Malaysia, Myanmar and Australia, and have recent experience of leasing to India which is also a promising market. This is one of the reasons I am based in the region and LCI is growing its team in Singapore.

China is an exciting market, although it takes patience and persistence to find the right opportunities. EMS operations are growing rapidly following recent easing of airspace restrictions, with our customer Kingwing being the country’s largest provider. We are seeing increased interest from Chinese offshore operators, who are seeking to upgrade their fleets and expand their international presence through the country’s “Belt and Road” initiative.

ARE THERE ANY NEW HELICOPTER LEASES IN THIS REGION?

There has been an increase in operator activity, particularly for AW139 and AW169 helicopters, as well as some Airbus types. We have several new helicopters on order this year, some of which I expect to come to this region, and customer commitments for several used helicopters which will be delivered to Asia and Australia in the coming months.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF LEASING AN ASSET RATHER THAN PURCHASING?

Operating leases have many benefits, but the key ones are cost, availability and risk. As such, the market is expected to grow by upto 20 percent in the next five years.

The up-front costs of an operating lease are typically limited to a security deposit and one month’s aircraft rental with no pre-delivery payments required. Operators can also benefit from the advance commitment LCI has made to purchase the latest aircraft. Should operators wish to purchase the same equipment now, manufacturers may not be able to deliver at the right time.

Finally, an operating lease moves much of an aircraft’s residual value risk from the operator to the lessor, who is better placed to manage the asset as part of a much larger portfolio. Further, end-users of helicopters often award shorter term contracts with near-term, or immediate, start dates. Lessors can assist by providing helicopters for lease and tailoring lease terms to match the underlying contract.

HOW DOES LCI HELP O&G OPERATORS MANAGE THEIR AIRCRAFT?

The O&G sector is showing signs of both stability and growth, and helicopter leasing is a proven way for O&G operators to manage their costs and risk.

Cost is crucial in this competitive market; with operating leases, minimal initial deposits can reduce mobilization costs, and LCI can forward fix monthly rental and interest rates to avoid adverse movements in exchange rates.

Most new helicopters are supported by the manufacturer’s costeffective power-by-the-hour program. LCI has already negotiated these agreements and can make them available to operators to ensure their maintenance requirements and cost risk are efficiently handled.

LCI builds in maximum flexibility to a new helicopter specification,with provisions for hoist, hook or additional equipment such as HF radios. This allows these helicopters to move easily between contracts, customers and mission types, at lower costs. Last year we delivered an O&G AW139 to an operator who reconfigured it for EMS missions. I expect we will see more of this type of transition in the coming years..

WHAT ARE LCI’S KEY MARKETS AND MISSION SEGMENTS IN ASIA?

EMS in China shows huge promise. A few years ago, the countryhad just a handful of dedicated EMS helicopters – now there are almost 50. There are still regulatory constraints, and it can be difficult to find enough pilots to train and operate the helicopters, so it will take time for this market to reach its full potential. We also need to understand better the EMS funding models, as none of the contracts are directly supported by the government, unlike other markets such as Australia and Japan.

We expect Australia and New Zealand to continue to upgrade their EMS fleets, which are already the largest in the region. Recently, there have been EMS contracts awarded by governments in South Korea and Taiwan, into which new AW169s were introduced.

Without doubt, O&G remains a major sector in the region, especially in Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia where we have seen a recent uptick in contracts and tenders, with a preference for new generation helicopters.

To view the original article, click here

LCI LAUNCHES FIRST HELICOPTER CO-INVESTMENT VEHICLE

– Five helicopter investment vehicle valued at over US$100 million –

LCI, a leading helicopter lessor and the aviation division of the Libra Group, has launched its first ever helicopter co-investment vehicle.

The new helicopter ownership vehicle contains five aircraft all on long-term lease – three Leonardo AW139 and two Sikorsky S-92 units – and is valued at over US$100 million. It has been launched in partnership with Flexam Tangible Asset Income Fund (part of Flexam Invest Group), who have also contributed to the capitalisation. LCI will also act as servicer for the vehicle.

Jaspal Jandu, Chief Financial Officer of LCI, said: “LCI is delighted to lead the helicopter leasing sector in launching this new form of ownership vehicle. It enables investors to participate at a specific transaction level and we are delighted to be partnering with Flexam whose professionalism in asset financing has been instrumental in executing this transaction.”

“There has been strong interest in our first co-investment vehicle and, as a helicopter lessor with a proven platform, management team and track record, we look forward to building upon similar frameworks in the future.”

Fabrice Fraikin and Florian de Sigy, both partners at Flexam Invest, said: “The helicopter leasing marketplace is a dynamic one offering many investment opportunities. LCI is a leading lessor in this space possessing unrivalled experience and breadth of knowledge.  Its track record as an aviation lessor is greatly respected by the financial community, making them an ideal partner for Flexam.”

LCI first entered the helicopter leasing marketplace in 2012 with a $400m order for a fleet of Leonardo AW139, AW169 and AW189 aircraft. Since that time, it has developed a proven leasing platform which today is renowned for the ownership, management and servicing of a fleet approaching 100 aircraft.

These are in operation across four continents in multiple sectors including offshore wind, emergency medical services, search and rescue, maritime pilot transfer and offshore oil and gas.

LCI’s fleet now comprises approximately US$1 billion of assets in service, on order and under control, focused on the latest technology medium and super medium helicopters manufactured by the leading helicopter OEMs including Leonardo, Airbus and Sikorsky.

– Ends –

About LCI

Since its inception in 2004, LCI has acquired fixed wing and rotary aircraft with a value of around US$6 billion. LCI is owned by Libra Group (www.libra.com), an international business group with 30 subsidiaries active in 35 countries across six continents. Libra Group’s subsidiaries are focused on six core sectors: aviation, energy, hospitality, real estate, shipping, and diversified investments. www.lciaviation.com

About Flexam Invest

Since 2011, Flexam Invest has structured investment solutions based on tangible assets in the rolling stock, logistics, maritime and aviation spaces, aiming at providing yield investments. Since inception, Flexam Invest has originated more than 90 transactions for about €220 million of equity.  Flexam Invest has invested through a fund contributed by a selection of high net worth individuals, family offices, pension funds and insurance companies. Flexam Invest headquarters are in Paris with offices in London, Brussels and Luxembourg. flexaminvest.com/en/

For more information, please contact:

Charlie Hampton / Rosie Causer

Pembroke and Rye

Tel: +44 (0)7884 187297

E-Mail: charlie@pembrokeandrye.com / rosie@pembrokeandrye.com

Download PDF

LCI SUCCESSFULLY CLOSES US$135M ASSET-BACKED HELICOPTER FACILITY

LCI, a leading helicopter lessor and the aviation division of the Libra Group, has successfully closed a new asset-backed helicopter facility in excess of US$135 million with a syndicate of five banks led by CIT Group Inc. as agent.

The new facility, which has been agreed with CIT, National Westminster Bank Plc, National Australia Bank Limited, Barclays Bank PLC and The Huntington National Bank, will be used to support the continuing development and expansion of LCI’s fleet.

LCI has also agreed to similar financing facilities this year with CaixaBank and Close Brothers Aviation and Marine. This brings the total amount of helicopter debt financing that LCI has raised since January 2018 to more than US$280 million.

Jaspal Jandu, Chief Financial Officer of LCI, said: “We are delighted that LCI’s long-held commitment to strong but balanced growth across multiple markets and sectors has been recognised in this vote of confidence from five major financial institutions. This facility, arranged and closed during a period of major industry realignment, will enable us to pursue the continued growth of our diversely-placed fleet.”

John P. Heskin, Managing Director & Group Head of CIT’s Aerospace, Defence and Government Services group, said: “As long-term financial partners of LCI, we have been consistently impressed by LCI’s strong leasing platform, management and diversified approach to the marketplace, and we are pleased to strengthen our relationship further.”

LCI’s fleet, which comprises approximately US$1 billion of assets in service, on order and under control, is focused on the latest technology medium and super medium helicopters manufactured by the leading helicopter OEMs including Leonardo, Airbus and Sikorsky.

– Ends –

About Lease Corporation International (LCI)

Since its inception in 2004, LCI has acquired fixed wing and rotary aircraft with a value of around US$6 billion. LCI is owned by Libra Group (www.libra.com), an international business group with 30 subsidiaries active in 35 countries across six continents. Libra Group’s subsidiaries are focused on six core sectors: aviation, energy, hospitality, real estate, shipping, and diversified investments. www.lciaviation.com

For more information, please contact:

Charlie Hampton / Rosie Causer

Pembroke and Rye

Tel: +44 (0)7884 187297

E-Mail: charlie@pembrokeandrye.com / rosie@pembrokeandrye.com

Download PDF

LCI SUCCESSFULLY CLOSES US$75M FINANCING FACILITY LED BY CAIXABANK

LCI, the leading helicopter lessor and aviation division of the Libra Group, has successfully closed a new asset-backed helicopter financing facility in excess of US$75 million.

The new facility, led by CaixaBank along with a consortium of financial institutions, was arranged by National Westminster Bank Plc as part of an oversubscribed financing, and will be used to support the continuing growth of LCI’s helicopter fleet for civilian use.

The new arrangement is CaixaBank’s first with LCI, and follows the successful closing of a similar facility earlier this year with Close Brothers Aviation and Marine.

Jaspal Jandu, Chief Financial Officer of LCI, says: “LCI’s sustained growth across multiple sectors in geographic markets around the globe is proving an attractive proposition for our financial partners, and this was recognised in the oversubscribed demand for this new asset-backed facility.”

“We’re delighted to be working with CaixaBank and the consortium to help drive the growth of our fleet of next generation helicopters, whose efficiency and reliability is proving popular with the many civilian helicopter operators to whom we lease them.”

LCI’s fleet, which comprises approximately US$1 billion of assets in service, on order and under management, is focused on the latest technology light-twin, medium and super medium helicopters manufactured by the leading helicopter OEMs, including Leonardo, Airbus and Sikorsky.

– Ends –

About Lease Corporation International (LCI)

Since its inception in 2004, LCI has acquired fixed wing and rotary aircraft with a value of around US$6 billion. LCI is owned by Libra Group (www.libra.com), an international business group with 30 subsidiaries active in 35 countries across six continents. Libra Group’s subsidiaries are focused on six core sectors: aviation, energy, hospitality, real estate, shipping, and diversified investments. www.lciaviation.com

For more information, please contact:

Charlie Hampton / Rosie Causer

Pembroke and Rye

Tel: +44 (0)7884 187297

E-Mail: charlie@pembrokeandrye.com

Download PDF