Lease Corporation International (LCI), the aviation division of global conglomerate the Libra Group, and AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, have signed an agreement covering the purchase of a fleet of AW139, AW169 and AW189 helicopters for a new division being set up by the lessor. The related contract, which also includes options, is valued in excess of US$400 million. Building on its successful growth in the narrow and wide-body fixed-wing leasing market, LCI’s new helicopter division plans to offer helicopter operators an attractive alternative to buying and financing the purchase of rotary wing aircraft. LCI expects to be active in a number of markets including offshore oil and gas, Search & Rescue and aero-medical transport.
Crispin Maunder, Executive Chairman, LCI, said after the signing: “Today’s announcement is the culmination of careful analysis and observation of this sector. As a dynamic lessor we are confident that now is the time to make this move given the high level of unfulfilled demand for new generation helicopters, which the innovative, market-leading AgustaWestland helicopters are well placed to meet.”
LCI will benefit from the commonality in design across the AW139, AW169 and AW189 family of new generation helicopters, due for delivery over the next five years. As well as possessing the same high performance flight characteristics and safety features the helicopters share a common cockpit layout, design philosophy and maintenance concepts that will allow more effective operations for customers operating helicopter fleets from 4 to 8.5 tonnes.
Since its inception in 2004, LCI has acquired aircraft with a value approaching US$5 billion. Today the company has a fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft on lease to some of the world’s leading airlines, including Singapore Airlines, Air France and Asiana. LCI is also a launch customer for the Bombardier CSeries and has placed an order for 20 aircraft valued at approximately US$1.4 billion, with options for a further 20.