$230-million EMS and SAR helicopter leasing venture launched
Helicopter lessor LCI has teamed up with Sumitomo Mitsui Finance and Leasing Company (SMFL) to establish a joint venture helicopter leasing business with a fleet of new aircraft worth US$230 million
The helicopters will be used for a variety of missions, including emergency medical services, search and rescue, and offshore windfarm transportation. The new joint venture will enable SMFL and LCI to further expand the range and volume of their helicopter investments by leveraging their experience derived from SMFL’s aircraft and engine leasing companies, and LCI’s experience in aviation helicopter and fixed-wing leasing.
LCI’s fleet comprises approximately US$1 billion of assets in service, on order and under management, focused on the latest technology medium and super medium helicopters manufactured by leading helicopter OEMs including Leonardo, Airbus and Sikorsky.
The option of whether to buy new aircraft or to lease them is a difficult decision for many operators to make, and with budgets around the world feeling the pressure of the pandemic, it might be that leasing is a preferable option for many. AirMed&Rescue investigated the challenges of fleet renewal, and the pros and cons of leasing and buying, earlier this year.
A natural partnership for two companies
Jaspal Jandu, Chief Financial Officer of LCI, said: “LCI is delighted to be launching this new leasing vehicle with SMFL. Our joint venture with this renowned partner highlights the opportunities available in the helicopter leasing marketplace and demonstrates how these aircraft have now become a proven and attractive asset class.”
Shinichiro Watanabe, Managing Executive Officer of SMFL, said: “LCI’s experience, expertise and reputation makes them a natural business partner for SMFL, and we look forward to working with them and combining our respective financial strengths to jointly and professionally manage a successful and dynamic venture.”
George Logothetis, Chairman and Chief Executive of the Libra Group, added: “We are very pleased and proud that LCI has formed a joint venture with such a highly respected organisation. This partnership promises sustained and exciting growth for LCI’s rotary-wing business, which has already proved highly resilient during the global pandemic.”