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.
Brian Humphries, president and CEO of the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), joined the advisory board of aircraft leasing group Milestone Aviation. Humphries, who was previously CEO of the Shell Aircraft flight department and an Air Commodore in Britain’s Royal Air Force, also serves as chairman of the British Helicopter Association.
Berkshire Hathaway’s audit committee claims that former NetJets chairman and CEO David Sokol violated “the highest standards of business ethics” maintained by NetJets parent Berkshire Hathaway in his trading of shares in Lubrizol. Sokol resigned from Berkshire Hathaway on March 28.
On March 28, David Sokol resigned from his job as chairman of several Berkshire Hathaway-owned companies, including fractional-share provider NetJets. NetJets president Jordan Hansell took over as chairman and CEO.