Lease Corporation International (LCI) of Dublin, Ireland, announced signing orders for helicopters here at Heli-Expo 2014 worth almost $1 billion: the orders include a contract with AgustaWestland for as many as 18 helicopters valued at more than $280 million and a contract with Airbus Helicopters for as many as 21 new rotorcraft valued at some $645 million. Adding up the new orders and others since its launch in 2012, LCI has ordered more than $1.3 billion worth of rotorcraft.
The Airbus order is for up to 15 EC225e Super Pumas, a new model unveiled yesterday morning, making LCI a launch customer for the utility helicopter, and up to six EC175s. “These particular models will be very attractive to our expanding customer base as they continually demand the latest technology helicopters,” said LCI executive chairman Crispin Maunder. “We are very happy to support them by providing quality aircraft together with innovative financing.”
The EC175 was EASA certified in January and is expected to enter service by year-end. Certification of the EC225e is targeted for late 2015, with deliveries anticipated to begin in mid 2016. No delivery schedule for LCI’s helicopters was announced.
“LCI’s order validates our high expectations for the future of the EC175, and we couldn’t be happier having LCI as a launch customer for the EC225e,” said Airbus Helicopters president Guillaume Faury.”
The AgustaWestland order includes up to 14 AW139 intermediate helicopters and up to four AW189 twin-engine models. The helicopters will be delivered from 2014 through 2018 if all options are exercised. LCI already has a contract with AgustaWestland placed in early 2012 worth $400 million that also includes AW169s.
“[AgustaWestland] helicopters are particularly well-suited to the market and are proving to be very popular with our lessees for a variety of roles,” said Maunder. “In particular we are pleased about the new super-medium category of helicopters, and our endorsement of the AW189 with the follow-on order underscores our intention to be a major player in this space.”
The AW139, AW169 and AW189 represent a new generation of helicopters spanning the four- to eight-ton weight category and share a common cockpit layout, design philosophy and maintenance concept.
“LCI’s order for more AW139 and AW189 helicopters highlights both its and the market’s recognition that AgustaWestland products offer the best combination of performance and operating costs, whilst providing the very latest safety features,” said AgustaWestland CEO Daniele Romiti.
Sources close to LCI indicated that another large helicopter order is imminent, but details were not available as of press time yesterday.