LCI PROMOTES TERRI FOLEY TO CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER

LCI, a leading aviation company and a subsidiary of the Libra Group, has promoted Terri Foley to Chief Operating Officer (COO) and General Counsel, effective immediately.  Terri has a long-established career with LCI, having joined in 2008 as the company’s General Counsel.

Based in LCI’s Dublin head office, Terri has proven experience in aviation leasing, financing and investing, both as a legal advisor and a commercial manager.  As part of the executive team, Terri has been responsible for LCI’s major transactions from a legal, tax, compliance and structuring perspective together with the company’s HR and corporate development activities globally.

Terri was admitted as a solicitor in England and Wales in 2001. She began her career with Dentons during which time she undertook long-term secondments to Airbus and to the corporate jet division of Barclays Bank. 

In her new role, Terri will be responsible for global operational management of the company, focusing on enhanced efficiencies and strategic initiatives to support its continued growth.  Terri will continue as General Counsel, and will focus on legal strategy and process, supported by a legal team.

Jaspal Jandu, CEO of LCI says:  “Terri is a tremendous asset to LCI and her elevation is thoroughly well-deserved.  She has worked tirelessly as a leader and as a mentor, and will play an integral part of LCI’s growth right across the aviation spectrum.  We are delighted to have someone with her strong experience, knowledge and creativity as our COO and General Counsel.”

Terri Foley, COO and General Counsel of LCI, says: “This is an exciting period of growth for LCI and I welcome the challenges and opportunities which lie ahead. The robustness and scalability of our leasing, financing and investing platform is integral to that growth. I look forward to working with our team to continue the company’s development, and structuring it to help us meet our ambitious growth and sustainability objectives.”

 LCI maintains a growing, sustainable, and future-focused fleet of young, modern aircraft. These are leased to major operators around the world and are deployed on mission critical and socially responsible sectors such as Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Search and Rescue (SAR) and offshore wind.

– Ends –

About LCI

LCI is a privately owned aircraft lessor that is uniquely positioned across the commercial fixed-wing, helicopter and advanced air mobility sectors. Since its inception in 2004, LCI has undertaken in excess of US$8 billion of transactions in the fixed-wing, helicopter and advanced air mobility markets, and provides leasing services to airlines, freight carriers and helicopter operators. LCI is the aviation subsidiary the Libra Group (www.libra.com), a private international business group whose subsidiaries own and operate assets in nearly 60 countries. The Group is active predominantly in aviation, energy, hospitality, real estate, maritime, and diversified investments.

www.lciaviation.com

For more information, please contact: 

Charlie Hampton / Zahida Wiffen

Pembroke and Rye 

Tel: +44 (0)7884 187297 

E-Mail: lci@pembrokeandrye.com

LCI SIGNS SUSTAINABILITY CHARTER WITH AIRCRAFT LEASING IRELAND

LCI, a leading aviation company and a subsidiary of the Libra Group, has today signed Aircraft Leasing Ireland’s (ALI) Sustainability Charter. Signatories are committed to driving forward and achieving Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) related goals, centred around 10 priority sustainability principles.

In signing the Charter, an industry that manages more than $100bn of assets pledges its commitment to achieving net zero carbon objectives. Additional principles and goals include the pursuit of low-carbon technologies such as Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) and hydrogen, the commitment to reuse and recycling, the drive for greater community engagement, and corporate ESG accountability and reporting.

Jaspal Jandu, CEO of LCI, comments: “Sustainability is integral to LCI and we are delighted to participate in the signing of this important and ambitious Charter. LCI is uniquely positioned across the commercial fixed-wing, helicopter and advanced air mobility sectors and comprehends the need to take action now in order to prepare for the future.  The journey to net zero has to be taken together, so we welcome the opportunity to shape it now.” 

LCI assets operate on mission critical and socially responsible sectors such as Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Search and Rescue (SAR) and offshore wind.  LCI is committed to the latest technology aircraft with the lowest CO2 emissions in their class such as the Leonardo AW139 and the Airbus H175 helicopters.  LCI is also a member of the Airbus Helicopters Sustainable Aviation Fuel forum.

In April 2022, LCI signed an agreement with BETA Technologies to acquire up to 125 of the company’s electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.  The battery powered aircraft have zero operational emissions and will enable LCI to sustainably support mission critical operations across the globe.

LCI recently announced its sponsorship of Airlink, the philanthropic arm of the International Society for Transport Aircraft Trading (ISTAT), supporting individuals and institutions that promote the advancement of commercial aviation and humanitarianism. LCI’s involvement plays an important role in bolstering Airlink’s ability to respond to humanitarian disasters through a significant donation of unrestricted funds.

– ENDS –

About LCI

LCI is a helicopter and commercial aircraft company with offices in Dublin, London and Singapore. LCI is the aviation subsidiary the Libra Group (www.libra.com), a private international business group whose subsidiaries own and operate assets in more than 50 countries. The Group is active predominantly in aviation, energy, hospitality, real estate, shipping, and diversified investments.www.lciaviation.com

About ALI

Aircraft Leasing Ireland (ALI) is the Ibec group representing the aircraft leasing industry in Ireland and is dedicated to the continued development and success of Ireland’s aircraft leasing industry.  Ireland is the leading centre for aircraft leasing globally which as a high growth sector of international financial services, represents $100billion of assets.

https://www.ibec.ie/connect-and-learn/industries/financial-services-leasing-and-professional-services/aircraft-leasing-ireland

For more information, please contact: 

Charlie Hampton / Zahida Wiffen

Pembroke and Rye 

Tel: +44 (0)7884 187297 / + 44 (0)7570 662708

E-Mail: lci@pembrokeandrye.com

LCI SIGNS AGREEMENT FOR UP TO SIX H175 HELICOPTERS FROM AIRBUS

LCI, a leading aviation company and a subsidiary of the Libra Group, has today announced an order for up to six H175 super-medium helicopters from Airbus, valued at over US$125 million.

The order is for two confirmed aircraft with the first H175 set to be delivered to LCI in late 2023. The agreement provides for a further four options and builds upon LCI’s previous order for new H175s.

Jaspal Jandu, CEO of LCI, says: “The Airbus H175 is a versatile, multi-purpose helicopter and this order will help to maintain the breadth of LCI’s product offering. This latest chapter in our partnership is an important element of LCI’s long-term growth strategy, and demonstrates our confidence in the helicopter leasing market.”

Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters, says: “LCI is a longstanding and valued Airbus partner. As a leading lessor and operator of Airbus helicopters, their renewed commitment to the H175 demonstrates the strength of the marketplace and its post-pandemic recovery.”

LCI’s fleet currently includes over 50 Airbus helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. They are deployed by 14 operators in 10 countries across the globe on a range of missions including emergency medical services, search and rescue and offshore wind.

The H175 first entered service in 2015 and combines long range capabilities with smooth flight qualities, excellent payload and cabin comfort. It is a highly versatile, super-medium aircraft that can operate in a range of different configurations.

LCI has consistently grown in scale and value as it has diversified over time. The lessor’s highly experienced management team has built strong relationships with aircraft and engine manufacturers, customers, and leading financial institutions.

Since its inception in 2004, LCI has undertaken in excess of US$8 billion of transactions in the aviation markets.

– ENDS –

About LCI

LCI is a privately owned aircraft lessor founded in 2004. Since its inception, LCI has undertaken in excess of US$8 billion of transactions in the fixed-wing, helicopter and advanced air mobility markets, and provides leasing services to airlines, freight carriers and helicopter operators. LCI is the aviation subsidiary the Libra Group (www.libra.com), a private international business group whose subsidiaries own and operate assets in nearly 60 countries. The Group is active predominantly in aviation, energy, hospitality, real estate, maritime, and diversified investments.

www.lciaviation.com

For more information, please contact: 

Charlie Hampton / Zahida Wiffen

Pembroke and Rye 

Tel: +44 (0)7884 187297 

E-Mail: lci@pembrokeandrye.com

LCI ACQUIRES NINETEEN HELICOPTER PORTFOLIO ALONGSIDE RIVE PRIVATE INVESTMENT AND TURNING ROCK PARTNERS

LCI, a leading aviation company and a subsidiary of the Libra Group, has today announced the acquisition of a portfolio of nineteen (19) helicopters from Lobo Leasing, alongside RIVE Private Investment and Turning Rock Partners.

The portfolio is valued at over US$115 million and comprises of helicopters from leading manufacturers including Airbus Helicopters, Bell, Leonardo and Sikorsky.

 The acquisition will see LCI continue to diversify its fleet, increase its customer base and expand its geographical reach. Eight of the aircraft are currently placed on lease in South America, with the remainder in Europe and Africa, and will bring the total number of countries served by LCI’s assets to 28.

Jaspal Jandu, CEO of LCI, says: “This portfolio acquisition is another major step in LCI’s strategic plan and reflects our confidence in the helicopter market. Our team and partners have performed strongly, and the assets will be seamlessly incorporated onto our leasing platform, driving further efficiencies of scale.”

George Logothetis, Chairman and CEO of LCI’s parent company, the Libra Group, says: “The continued expansion of LCI’s fleet represents another strategic and forward-looking investment by the company. LCI continually works to demonstrate foresight and agility in meeting customer needs, with a nimble and future-focused approach that reflects the ethos of all across our Group.”

Camille Brunel, Partner at RIVE Private Investment, says: “We are pleased to further develop our relationship with LCI. This transaction leverages LCI’s strong global technical expertise and track record to cautiously expand RIVE Private Investment’s geographical and sectorial footprint.”

David Markus, Partner at Turning Rock Partners, says: “We are excited to work with strong partners like LCI and RIVE in underwriting and structuring this investment.  We look forward to a long and successful relationship with them.”

LCI has consistently grown in scale and value as it has diversified over time. The lessor’s highly experienced management team has built strong relationships with aircraft and engine manufacturers, customers, and leading financial institutions.

Since its inception in 2004, LCI has undertaken in excess of US$8 billion of transactions in the aviation markets.

– ENDS –

Image caption:

An AW139 operated by Omni Helicopters International – one of the aircraft types in the portfolio

About LCI

LCI is a privately owned aircraft lessor founded in 2004. Since its inception, LCI has undertaken in excess of US$8 billion of transactions in the fixed-wing, helicopter and advanced air mobility markets, and provides leasing services to airlines, freight carriers and helicopter operators. LCI is the aviation subsidiary the Libra Group (www.libra.com), a private international business group whose subsidiaries own and operate assets in more than 50 countries. The Group is active predominantly in aviation, energy, hospitality, real estate, shipping, and diversified investments.

www.lciaviation.com

About RIVE Private Investment

Created in 2013, RIVE Private Investment is an independent private equity firm specializing in sustainable infrastructure and tangible assets (medical aviation, railways, industrial equipment, etc.). RIVE Private Investment benefits from the solid technical and financial expertise of its team of investment professionals based in 4 European countries: Paris, Geneva, Luxembourg, and Hamburg. Since its creation, RIVE Private Investment has financed more than €2 billion of assets through more than 100 transactions, out of which €900 million in the tangible assets sector.

Website: www.rive-investment.com or call our offices at: +33 (0)1 82 83 63 00.

For more information, please contact: Camille BRUNEL – Partner – brunel@rive-investment.com

About Turning Rock Partners

Turning Rock Partners pursues debt, equity and hybrid investments in lower-middle market businesses in North America. TRP structures bespoke financing solutions for companies across the private market landscape. For more information, please visit Turning Rock Partners’ Website: www.turningrockpartners.com or call our offices at: 212-207-2390.

For Turning Rock investor relations, please contact: investor@turningrockpartners.com

For more information, please contact: 

Charlie Hampton / Zahida Wiffen

Pembroke and Rye 

Tel: +44 (0)7884 187297 

E-Mail: lci@pembrokeandrye.com

LCI AND SMFL DELIVER TWO NEW AW169 HELICOPTERS TO ALIDAUNIA FOR MISSION CRITICAL EMS OPERATIONS

LCI, a leading aviation company and a subsidiary of the Libra Group, and Sumitomo Mitsui Finance and Leasing Company, Limited (SMFL), have delivered two new Leonardo AW169 helicopters from its joint venture leasing operation to the well-established Italian helicopter operator, Alidaunia.

The two state-of-the-art aircraft will be based in Naples and Salerno on long term operating leases, from where Alidaunia will use them to deliver mission-critical and socially responsible Emergency Medical Services (EMS) operations for the Campania region of Italy.

Crispin Maunder, Executive Chairman of LCI, says: “Alidaunia is a highly experienced provider of helicopter services, and LCI is proud to be supporting their growing emergency medical services operation. With over half of our fleet deployed on mission critical operations, we have the technical and operational experience to help them deliver this vital service for the people of Campania.”

Avv/Com Roberto Pucillo, CEO of Alidaunia, says: “LCI’s experience in providing aircraft and support for emergency medical services operations makes them a natural partner for Alidaunia. We look forward to a long and productive partnership between our two companies.”

LCI and SMFL’s joint venture portfolio now totals 38 units valued at over US$420 million – a doubling in size in less than two years from when the JV was launched in September 2020 with 19 aircraft.

LCI’s rotorcraft fleet is focused on the latest technology medium and super medium helicopters manufactured by leading OEMs including Leonardo, Airbus Helicopters and Sikorsky. These are in operation across four continents in mission critical sectors including emergency medical services, offshore wind, search and rescue, maritime pilot transfer and energy sector transportation.

LCI has consistently grown in scale and value as it has diversified over time. The lessor’s highly experienced management team has built strong relationships with aircraft and engine manufacturers, customers, and leading financial institutions.

Since its inception in 2004, LCI has undertaken in excess of US$8 billion of transactions in the aviation markets.  LCI’s currently operates a fleet of over 140 helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, with an additional 125 units on order. 

– ENDS –

About LCI

LCI is a privately owned helicopter and commercial aircraft lessor founded in 2004, with offices in Dublin, London and Singapore. Since its inception, LCI has undertaken in excess of US$8 billion of transactions in the fixed-wing, helicopter and advanced air mobility markets and provided leasing services to airlines, freight carriers and helicopter operators.

LCI is the aviation subsidiary the Libra Group (www.libra.com), a private international business group whose subsidiaries own and operate assets in more than 50 countries. The Group is active predominantly in aviation, energy, hospitality, real estate, shipping, and diversified investments.www.lciaviation.com

For more information, please contact: 

Charlie Hampton

Pembroke and Rye 

Tel: +44 (0)7884 187297 

E-Mail: lci@pembrokeandrye.com

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LCI SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH BETA TECHNOLOGIES FOR A COMMITTED ORDER OF UP TO 125 eVTOL AIRCRAFT

LCI, a leading aviation company and a subsidiary of the Libra Group, today signed an agreement with BETA Technologies (BETA), developer of a fully integrated electric aviation system, to acquire up to 125 of the company’s electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft

LCI’s commitment for BETA’s ALIA-250 eVTOL aircraft will enable the company to sustainably support operations across the globe. Under the terms of the deposit-backed agreement, LCI will initially acquire 50 aircraft with an option for a total of up to 125. The eVTOL aircraft are currently under development at BETA’s facility in Burlington, Vermont.

ALIA produces zero operational emissions, with a maximum range of 250 nautical miles, and is designed to carry five passengers and a pilot or 1,400 lbs (635 kgs) of payload. The aircraft will provide sustainable solutions for a wide range of applications including cargo, medical and passenger with true point-to-point operations.

Key advantages of ALIA include the ability to recharge in under an hour, a net-zero emissions profile, and lower maintenance requirements. BETA is also developing charging infrastructure to support the electric aircraft, as well as electric ground vehicles.

Jaspal Jandu, CEO of LCI, says: “We are embracing this new era of sustainable flight and BETA Technologies’ innovative approach makes them a natural and credible partner for LCI. We believe that the aircraft’s blend of rechargeable battery power, significant internal capacity, and plentiful range is an optimal one. We are confident it will be a popular choice for operators and end-users seeking to develop and augment their fleets with this truly sustainable technology.”

“As a leading aircraft lessor with an established global track record, LCI has a strong pulse on what operators are looking for,” said Kyle Clark, Founder and CEO of BETA. “We are gratified by their confidence that the solutions we’re building will answer the need for next generation, zero-emission electric aircraft. We are excited to partner with LCI and push adoption of this solution forward within the industry.”

The new eVTOL aircraft will complement LCI’s existing fleet of modern helicopters and fixed wing aircraft, and almost double the number of aircraft on its aviation platform to over 270 units. In addition, LCI and its parent company, the Libra Group, whose subsidiaries own and operate assets in more than 50 countries, plan to share commercial, financial and supply-chain expertise with BETA through well-established industry networks.

George Logothetis, Chairman and CEO of the Libra Group, stated, “As a global holding company, Libra Group and its subsidiaries are committed to advancing a clean energy future. Through this agreement, LCI will bring carbon-free transportation to customers around the world.” Logothetis continued, “Today’s announcement by LCI is the tip of the spear in the innovation pivot of Libra Group and thus our entire organization. We look forward to continuing to partner with innovative and future thinking companies that can benefit from our global platform and to help catalyze the uptake of life-saving, transformative technologies across the world.”

LCI has consistently grown in scale and value as it has diversified over time. The lessor’s highly experienced management team has built strong relationships with aircraft and engine manufacturers, customers, and leading financial institutions. Since its inception in 2004, LCI has undertaken in excess of US$8 billion of transactions in the aviation markets.

– ENDS –

Notes to Editors

About LCI

LCI is a helicopter and commercial aircraft company with offices in Dublin, London and Singapore. LCI is the aviation subsidiary the Libra Group (www.libra.com), a private international business group whose subsidiaries own and operate assets in more than 50 countries. The Group is active predominantly in aviation, energy, hospitality, real estate, shipping, and diversified investments.www.lciaviation.com

About BETA

BETA Technologies is creating an electric transportation system that’s quiet, safe, reliable and sustainable. A relentlessly focused team is building an extensive charging infrastructure and ALIA, the world’s most technologically advanced electric vertical aircraft (EVA).

BETA’s platform and products are strikingly simple. Prioritization of safety and a pragmatic approach to certification drive elegant redundancy, appropriate diversity of implementation and simplicity of control. ALIA’s fixed-pitch propellers and centrally located batteries make it an inherently stable aircraft that is safe to fly and easy to maneuver.

BETA has committed orders or contracts with leading operators across military, medical, cargo and passenger applications including UPS, United Therapeutics, Blade and both the U.S. Air Force and U.S Army.

For more information regarding LCI, please contact: 

Charlie Hampton

Pembroke and Rye 

Tel: +44 (0)7884 187297 

E-Mail: lci@pembrokeandrye.com

Download PDF

LCI AND SMFL DOUBLE JOINT VENTURE FLEET TO US$420 MILLION IN TWO YEARS

LCI, a leading aviation leasing company, and Sumitomo Mitsui Finance and Leasing Company, Limited (SMFL), have acquired and committed to a further five next generation helicopters.  

These additional aircraft bring their total Joint Venture (JV) portfolio to 38 units valued at over US$420 million – a doubling in size in less than two years from when the JV was launched in September 2020 with 19 aircraft.

The most recent helicopters consist of two Airbus H145 D3, two Airbus H145 T2, and one Leonardo AW139. They will be deployed in mission-critical roles in Europe and Asia.

More than 75% of the JV’s total fleet is now deployed on ESG-focused missions such as emergency medical services (EMS), search and rescue (SAR), and serving offshore wind farm operations. The fleet is in operation across various countries including the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Norway, as well as Australia.

Jaspal Jandu, Chief Executive Officer at LCI, said: “Our continued expansion is a clear demonstration of the initial success and long-term potential of LCI’s partnership with SMFL. Using our collective expertise, I am confident that we can achieve further growth with an increasing focus on socially-aware helicopter missions across the globe.”

Shin Watanabe, Managing Executive Officer at SMFL, said: “The synergy between LCI and SMFL’s shared values and respective strengths continues to deliver impressive results. We will maintain our dynamic and proactive approach so as to contribute positively to society.”

LCI has consistently grown in scale and value as it has diversified over time. The lessor’s highly experienced management team has built strong relationships with aircraft and engine manufacturers, customers, and leading financial institutions.

Since its inception in 2004, LCI has undertaken in excess of US$8 billion of transactions in the fixed-wing and helicopter markets.

– ENDS –

Notes to Editors 

About LCI 
LCI is a leading helicopter and commercial aircraft leasing company with offices in Dublin, London and Singapore. LCI is principally owned by the Libra Group (www.libra.com), an international business group with 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 regarding LCI, please contact:  
Charlie Hampton / Rosie Causer 
Pembroke and Rye  
Tel: +44 (0)7884 187297  
E-Mail: lci@pembrokeandrye.com 

About SMFL  
Sumitomo Mitsui Finance and Leasing has been one of leading Japanese leasing companies for more than 50 years. SMFL is owned by Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, one of the biggest banking groups, while Sumitomo Corporation is a top-tier trading company. SMFL provides aircraft and engine leases to the global aviation industry and other asset-based finance such as real estate and energy facilities, in addition to other types of finances like financial leases, debt and equity investments, and various financial products. 

For more information regarding SMFL, please contact:  
Yusuke Kataoka, Aviation Business Development Section 
SMFL 
Tel: +81 (0)3 6695 3989
Email: kataoka-yu@smfl.co.jp 

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LCI TAKES DELIVERY OF 100TH HELICOPTER ENGINE FROM PRATT & WHITNEY CANADA

LCI, a leading aviation leasing company, today announced that it has taken delivery of its 100th helicopter engine from Pratt & Whitney Canada.

Pratt & Whitney Canada engines power many of LCI’s next generation helicopters. These include the PT6C-67C, the PW210A and the PW207 on Leonardo’s AW139, AW169 and the AW109S. The company’s PT6C-67E powers the Airbus H175 helicopter.

These aircraft are deployed on mission-critical services across the globe, including Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Search and Rescue (SAR), offshore wind and energy operations.

Jaspal Jandu, CEO of LCI, said: “Today’s announcement reflects LCI’s commitment to maintaining a young, modern and diverse fleet, and Pratt & Whitney Canada’s commitment to advanced, sustainable technologies. Having engines in our fleet that deliver such outstanding reliability, power and efficiency enables us to meet our customers’ exacting needs whilst also supporting our collective environmental responsibilities.”

“We are pleased with LCI’s continued confidence in Pratt & Whitney Canada’s helicopter engines,” said Nicolas Chabée, vice president, Helicopters, Pratt & Whitney Canada. “Our helicopter engines deliver exceptional performance and reliability in diverse applications and contrasting environments and are particularly suitable to serve the many missions of LCI’s customers. We look forward to supporting LCI and its customers for the years ahead.”

LCI has consistently grown in scale and value as it has diversified over time. The lessor’s highly experienced management team has built strong relationships with aircraft and engine manufacturers, customers, and leading financial institutions.

Since its inception in 2004, LCI has undertaken in excess of US$8 billion of transactions in the fixed-wing and helicopter markets.

– Ends –

About LCI
LCI is owned by Libra Group (www.libra.com), an international business group with 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
Tel: +44 (0)7884 187297 / +44 (0)7875 132567
E-Mail: lci@pembrokeandrye.com 

Download PDF

HI Uplift: New contracts sharpen leasing demand

Demand for leased helicopters has climbed significantly this year, leading to a shortage of aircraft in some sectors, after contract providers began issuing tenders previously delayed due to Covid-19.

“Suddenly, we have seen a lot of operators looking for helicopters at short notice,” Nigel Leishman, executive vice president and global head of Marketing, LCI tells Helicopter Investor (HI). And longer-term planning is needed to avoid shortfalls in supply.

While always mindful of the global economic outlook, LCI is encouraged by the number of contracts coming up for renewal. “The helicopter sector, and aviation in general, is an industry for the long term, so we have to look beyond the next one to two years,” says Leishman. LCI tracks upcoming tenders over the next 12 to 18 months and notes as tenders start to be fulfilled and helicopters delivered, there’s always another tender coming up. “While helicopters are not immune to economic cycles, there’s still an underlying need for such mission-critical aircraft which make up the majority of the missions our fleet is flying.”

Operators have concluded they still need new helicopters to replace aging aircraft in their fleet, despite the current unique combination of rising energy prices, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, adding inflation into the market and rising interest rates, all of which may persist for some time. “The helicopter market has recovered to its pre-Covid position,” says Leishman. For example, he adds, the EMS (emergency medical services) market is continuing through its replacement cycle and seeing demand for new EMS helicopters. Uptake of new generation helicopters, such as the H145, AW169 and AW139 for EMS missions was particularly strong in new markets such as South Korea and Taiwan, as well as more mature markets in Europe, North America and Australia.

 More investment in oil exploration and production is also driving demand. “Organisations have stepped up exploration activities or production,” says Leishman. “And, they are commissioning again in the North Sea, which is driving demand in the market, despite it being a fairly stable and mature market.”

Offshore oil and gas operations accounts for about 30% of LCI’s leased fleet, with the lessor reporting demand not just from replacement but also fleet growth. Guyana is a big market and Suriname is a new opportunity, while Brazil and Australia both need additional helicopters, he says. Super-medium helicopters are expected to become increasingly popular in this segment.

Staying offshore, LCI predicts wind generation will create a bright future for helicopters supporting the construction and maintenance of wind turbines in an increasing array of global regions. “There is significant demand in that space that now stretches well beyond Europe as new wind project developments get underway in the US and Asia, with China set to become the single largest offshore market in the world.” Previous predictions of 100 extra assets in this market over the next 10 years could prove conservative, he adds. Requirements are focusing on larger aircraft, such as the AW139, used during the construction phase and for passenger transport, and the AW169 and H145 used for maintenance on a 10–20-year operation and maintenance phase. (Pictured top is an AW139 on a search and rescue mission).

But Leishman says firefighting remains “a challenging market for operating lessors”.This is because helicopters on these missions have lower utilisation rates with short-term, often annual, contracts under which operators receive payment only when their aircraft fly.

One factor frustrating the supply of new civil helicopters are manufacturers’ growing order books for government and military clients, as OEMs have started to move away from the commercial market. While OEMs are still producing commercial helicopters, they are not doing so at the rate needed to immediately satisfy demand.

“That means we are seeing the situation where demand is outstripping supply for both new and used new generation helicopters, and this is also putting pressure on supply chains and spares availability,” says Leishman. “At the same time, multiple operators and multiple end-users are trying to secure the supply of the helicopter that we may or may not have while, perhaps the existing operator wanted to keep their helicopter.”

For LCI, the result has been significantly more lease extensions this year by operators wanting to retain helicopters. When leases have not been extended, operators have been competing to secure those aircraft.

Returning to rising interest rates, Leishman said they were leading to difficult conversations with clients as the cost of both new and used helicopters continued to rise. “There’s escalation from the OEMs and suppliers and that’s pushing up operating costs and the costs of financing are rising as well,” he tells HI. “Those costs have to be passed on to somebody – and ultimately, that will be the end users.”

While there are opportunities for new operators to enter the market, they are not doing so at present because the margins are still relatively low. One remedy for the shortage of new generation helicopters – fresh off the production line and pre-owned, particularly for offshore operations – was, longer term planning on the part of operators and their end-users. “If they [operators] are going to look to us, as a lessor, to invest in the future[in new helicopters], they are going to have to plan their requirements further in advance,” he says.

“That means awarding long-term contracts, not just two or three years, and removing termination for convenience clauses – which are not convenient to lessors and financers. If we are going to invest in new equipment to support them, then we have to take a much more collaborative approach and end the competitive and combative situation.”

HI Uplift: LCI says all groups have responsibility to drive sustainability

BY MIKE STONES

All aviation organisations have a responsibility to help drive progress on sustainability topics, says LCI, after signing Aircraft Leasing Ireland’s (ALI’s) Sustainability Charter, which commits the business to 10 sustainability principles.

“The ALI Charter aims to focus the efforts of Irish leasing companies – a globally significant constituency managing over $100bn of assets – into driving forward change centred around 10 priority sustainability principles,” Jaspal Jandu, CEO, LCI tells Helicopter Investor.

Its principles include the drive to Net Zero by 2050, the pursuit of low-carbon technologies such as sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) and hydrogen, the commitment to reuse and recycling, and the drive for greater community engagement, he added. Reporting and measurement of such principles will eventually form a key part of the charter.

COP27, the United Nations (UN) climate change conference taking place this week in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, highlighted the importance of supporting the charter, according to LCI. Speaking at COP27 on Monday, UN secretary general António Guterres warned: “We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator.”

Despite the helicopter industry accounting for a small fraction of the aviation industry’s 2.5% of global CO2 emissions, it is making significant strides in addressing sustainability challenges, says Jandu (pictured above). “Advances in SAF, aerodynamics, turbine improvements, eco modes, hybridisation and electrification are being championed by manufacturers such as Airbus Helicopters and Leonardo.” 

Current advances in key technologies such as materials, avionics, air route navigation, electrification, and propulsion systems, are driving change across all facets of aviation. “When combined with general societal awareness of areas such as renewable energy, climate change, CO2, and workplace equality, it is clear to see how sustainability and broader ESG [Environmental, Social and Governance] matters are coming to the forefront of consciousness right now.”

Indicative analysis suggests that a young, mixed fleet of new technology helicopters – such as the AW139 and the H175 – could achieve 16% reductions in CO2 emissions based on operations in Aberdeen, according to Jandu. That could rise to 32% CO2 reductions in operations over Brazil’s Jacarepaguá region, near Rio de Janeiro, compared with the current fleet mix. “In addition, we already know that modern helicopters emit up to five times less CO2 per passenger compared with Crew Transfer Vessels [CTVs] in offshore wind, a growth sector in which LCI is at the forefront.”

Positioned across the commercial fixed-wing, helicopter and advanced air mobility sectors, LCI understands the need to take action now in order to prepare for the future, says Jandu. Large, commercial fixed-wing leasing companies are already reporting ESG metrics such as: total electricity consumption, CO2 emissions, recycling rates, employee training, and staff/management diversity, and this requirement will grow over time. “Interestingly, financiers and also adjacent stakeholders, such as accounting bodies and audit panels, are also driving forward reporting and transparency in this area,” he adds.

Last April, LCI signed an agreement with BETA Technologies to acquire up to 125 electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft. The battery powered aircraft have zero operational emissions and will enable LCI to sustainably support mission critical operations across the globe, according to the company. Designing electrified vehicles and charging networks from scratch has allowed OEMs such as BETA Technologies to invest in technologies which will ultimately generate zero operational emissions in the support of mission critical operations across the globe, says Jandu.

“The future is coming and LCI and its parent, the Libra Group, is committed to be playing its part in it,” he concludes.

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Above: LCI’s electic future – the company signed an agreement with BETA Technologies to acquire up to 125 eVTOLs last April.

Top: Jaspal Jandu, CEO, LCI is pictured with a prototype Airbus ACH H160.