Another Wall Street firm is entering the increasingly crowded helicopter leasing market. Perella Weinberg’s $2.1 billion Asset Based Value Strategy unit is teaming with Hawke Aerospace to form Infinity Helicopter Leasing. Infinity said it will focus on the light end of the market–singles and light twins–that service the onshore EMS, law enforcement and utility markets in the U.S. and Canada. Previous helicopter leasing market entrants, such as Milestone Aviation, have focused on the lucrative offshore market for medium and heavy twin-engine helicopters.
Three people (the pilot and two passengers) aboard a Bell 206 died January 27 near Silt, Colo., when their power line patrol helicopter crashed after striking a wire at about 11:20 a.m. Rifle, Colo.-based DBS Helicopters operated the aircraft.
The U.S. Supreme Court last week overturned the findings in a controversial security-based trial that initially found Air Wisconsin guilty of defamation after one of its managers in 2004 reported a pilot as unstable. The pilot claimed his ability to work in the aviation industry had been ruined based on the airline’s action.
The rarefied deepwater oil and gas market has spawned new players and big deals in the helicopter operating leasing market, but to date these transactions have largely been confined to medium and large helicopters. What will be the impact of leasing on the industry as a whole, especially for smaller operators with light helicopters in the non-oil-and-gas segments, and will it ever become as predominant as it is for airlines, where approximately one-third of the fleet is leased?
The U.S. Supreme Court last Monday overturned a lower court decision to award $1.2 million to former Air Wisconsin pilot William Hoeper for defamation, ruling that the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA) ensures that airlines enjoy immunity from liability in reporting security concerns about an individual to the Transportation Security Administration as long as they do not knowingly disclose false, inaccurate or misleading information.
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is stepping up efforts to improve helicopter operational safety after adding this to its Most Wanted list of goals for increased awareness and advocacy.
In a January 14 statement, the NTSB said that between January 2003 and May 2013 there were 1,470 helicopter accidents, resulting in 477 fatalities and 274 serious injuries. The Board is concerned that helicopter accidents will continue to happen unless a concerted effort is made to improve the safety of rotary-wing operations.
On Friday, the U.S. government filed a response to a lawsuit filed against it by the city of Santa Monica, which is seeking to establish its right to control future use of the Santa Monica Airport property. The city believes that it did not relinquish title to the airport when it leased the property to the U.S. government during World War II. When the government relinquished the leasehold on Aug. 10, 1948, it stipulated that the property must remain an airport.
After the city of Santa Monica, Calif., filed a complaint on October 31 against the FAA seeking “to establish the city’s right to control future use of the Santa Monica Airport property,” the FAA had until December 31 to respond. The FAA filed for an extension, looking to move the response date to February 12, but on December 16 U.S. District Court Judge John Walter refused to grant the extension.
A 59-year-old man working near the north cargo area of Logan International Airport was killed December 31 when he was run over by a truck on the ramp. Although the truck was traveling in reverse at the time it struck the victim, the reason behind bad damage to the vehicle’s windshield has not yet been explained.