Product liability insurance isn’t your everyday policy. “Without experience in aviation law, regulations and coverages, generalist insurers don’t understand the risks,” explained Jaime Benthusen, product liability director for NationAir Aviation Insurance (Booth No. 5105). Benthusen was on hand at Heli-Expo 2014 to introduce the company’s product liability coverage and risk assessments for rotor-wing aftermarket parts firms.
San Francisco-based Macquarie Rotorcraft Leasing (MRL, Booth No. 7802) announced yesterday here at Heli-Expo the purchases of two Sikorsky S-92A twin-engine helicopters for its growing fleet aimed at supporting operators in the oil-and-gas and search-and-rescue markets. The two S-92s will be leased back to Avincis subsidiary Bond Offshore Helicopters and will be delivered in the second quarter of 2014.
William Chiles, who has led global offshore helicopter services company Bristow Group for the last decade, will retire effective July 31 and be replaced by current CFO Jonathan Baliff. Chiles will remain as a consultant to the company through 2016. During Chiles’s tenure, Bristow grew rapidly and posted record profits. Baliff, who held senior positions at NRG Energy and Credit Suisse before joining Bristow in 2010, is a former USAF pilot with degrees in aerospace engineering and international relations.
Last year marked another year of relatively soft rates in the general aviation insurance market, according to aviation insurance broker NationAir’s annual market analysis, released yesterday. “While the market conditions have remained the same for several years, the reasons for that soft market are changing,” noted company president Jeff Bauer.
Initially, increased market competition pushed rates down, he said. “Now, however, rates are being held down by the more long-term forces of structural overcapacity and, thankfully, favorable loss history.”
The January 9 decision by Moody’s Investor Service to downgrade the credit rating of Qantas Airways to Ba2 (from Baa3) has prompted fresh calls for the Australian government to provide emergency debt guarantees for the country’s flag carrier.
Heading into the homestretch of 2013, the upbeat mood that ushered in the new year has been building into the summer step-climb that gets a catapult shot–courtesy of the NBAA convention–to finish out the year. Someone must have hit the “on” switch after Labor Day weekend in early September, bringing buyers back into the market en masse. While deals have abounded in all model segments for some time, the recent activity is a strong sign of buyer confidence. From top to bottom aircraft are moving, and it’s no wonder considering how low prices have dropped.
AOPA Insurance–a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association–is expanding its offerings to cover business aviation. “FBOs are our primary targets with our new commercial insurance offering. Beyond that, we are ready to insure corporate flight departments to a very high limit of liability,” company president Bill Snead told AIN.
Aircraft Shopper Online (Booth No. C10016) has signed an agreement to provide its clients with the services of Asset Insight at a discounted rate. Asset Insight employs a grading system that it says allows it to accurately assess the value of more than 75 large, medium and small jets. It does so by evaluating an aircraft’s maintenance condition and comparing it with the condition of other aircraft of similar make, model and age, particularly those listed for sale.
The annual NBAA convention routinely serves as an appropriate time to reflect on activity in the pre-owned market for both light jets and single-engine turboprops. As we look back at the year that has passed, it’s fair to say that while these markets have not set any blistering records, some calm is in the air.
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) recently launched AOPA Aviation Finance (AAF) Company, a loan brokerage venture aimed at matching association members who require aircraft purchase financing with suitable lenders. It will also help facilitate member loans for avionics updates, either through straight loans using the aircraft as collateral when it is fully owned, or through refinancing of the aircraft while it is still being paid off.