Helicopter leasing firm Milestone Aviation Group announced today that it has attracted new financing worth between $600- and $750 million to fund “growth initiatives and acquisitions.” Since its founding by Richard Santulli three years ago, Milestone has acquired more than 100 aircraft worth $1.5 billion, placed orders and taken options for more new aircraft worth $2.2 billion and closed leases with 22 operators in 20 countries. Most of Milestone’s clients service the growing offshore oil and gas sector. The new financing comes from a consortium of global financial institutions.
Milestone Aviation Group, the helicopter leasing firm headed by NetJets founder Richard Santulli, closed a new $300 million credit facility yesterday. The company will use these proceeds to acquire and lease helicopters–including Sikorsky S-92s, Eurocopter EC225s and AgustaWestland AW189s and AW139s–valued at $400 million to affiliates of Bristow Group. The credit facility is the largest ever for a helicopter lessor, the company said.
Leasing company Milestone Aviation continued its buying binge here at Heli-Expo yesterday, announcing firm orders for 30 new Sikorsky S-92A and S-76D helicopters and options for 24 more. Both Milestone and Sikorsky declined to place a total value on the order and options. Deliveries run from now through 2017.
Global helicopter lessor Milestone Aviation Group of Columbus, Ohio, and Eurocopter announced at Heli-Expo ‘13 this morning purchase orders with options for up to 15 EC225 Super Puma and five EC175 helicopters, contracts worth as much as $540 million (€415 million). The valuation is based on a price of €22.5 million each for the EC225 and €14 million each for the EC175s.
Milestone Aviation Group, the helicopter leasing firm headed by NetJets founder Richard Santulli, is raising $250 million to purchase aircraft and refinance previously purchased aircraft. It is doing this by offering senior unsecured notes that are due in 2017. Milestone, which provides 100-percent operating lease financing for helicopters, has leased more than 60 aircraft worth more than $850 million since its launch in August 2010.
NetJets unveiled its new Bombardier Global 6000 at the NBAA show static display last night. The fractional ownership giant has spent 18 months developing the Signature Series cabin interior for the large-cabin aircraft and will also roll out the new design to other new members of its fleet, including the Challenger 300 and 605. The aircraft is part of the 50-ship firm order for Global business jets placed by NetJets in March last year, along with options for 70 more.
Companies interviewed for this year’s fractional and charter market special report indicate that business is decent, although nowhere near the pre-recession pace of 2005 and 2006. The fractional-share business, at one time assumed by many to be dying or at least permanently flat, is growing, but still at a slow rate.
Milestone Aviation Group (Booth No 7010), a helicopter financing company, made a splash at Heli-Expo this year, announcing a $480 million deal with Eurocopter (Booth No. 1917) for 16 EC225s, a contract with Sikorsky Aircraft (Booth No. 6148) for three S-92s (terms not disclosed), and a $125-135 million leasing agreement with major operator Bristow Group for five large helicopters.
NetJets lost some of its creative energy in July when Marquis Jet founder and former CEO Kenny Dichter resigned as vice chairman of the company.
The European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) has appointed an airline lobbyist as its new leader. Fabio Gamba, most recently deputy secretary general of the Association of European Airlines (AEA), will join the business aviation association as CEO on September 1. EBAA’s current president and CEO, Brian Humphries, will remain as president.
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