LCI, the aviation leasing arm of Libra Group, has concluded an agreement to lease six new AgustaWestland aircraft to Australian Helicopters Pty Ltd, a member of the Babcock Mission Critical Services Group.
The AW139s will be progressively delivered to Australian Helicopters through 2015 and 2016 and, following arrival in Australia, will be modified for Emergency Medical Service operations. Once deployed, they will be operated on behalf of Air Ambulance Victoria and in due course replace their older aircraft. These new helicopters will enable Air Ambulance Victoria to deliver a faster and wider aero-medical care service in emergencies across the state as well as rapid transport service for patients between major and rural hospitals.
LCI Executive Chairman, Crispin Maunder, says: “We are delighted to announce this new partnership with Australian Helicopters to support the important work of Air Ambulance Victoria. This innovative lease agreement has enabled a major helicopter operator and emergency service provider to marry new technology airframes with the latest state-of-the-art medical equipment in a most cost-efficient way.”
John Boag, MD of Australian Helicopters, said: “We are pleased to be working with LCI Helicopters on the provision of new aircraft to support our customer Ambulance Victoria. Air Ambulances save lives, and these aircraft will help us deliver the highest standards of emergency care to the Victorian community.”
LCI’s helicopter division comprises a fleet of delivered and ordered helicopters approaching 90 new units, including the market-leading AgustaWestland AW139 and AW189 helicopters, and will shortly be the launch customer for the new AW169. The AW139, to be deployed through this contract in Australia, is a medium-sized (12-15 seat) twin-engine helicopter designed principally to serve roles such as emergency medical services, offshore and search and rescue.
LCI announced almost US$1 billion in new orders at the HAI Heli-Expo in Anaheim, California, last year and has also attracted investment of more than US$100 million from KKR Financial Holdings, LLC, to address growing oil and gas sector demand, as well as search and rescue and air ambulance services. Since its inception in 2004, the company has acquired fixed wing and rotary aircraft with a combined value of approaching US$6 billion.