Special Feature: Leasing Market
The largest lessor in the region continued to be Milestone Aviation, with a fleet of 69 leased helicopters, an increase of around 3% from the 67 leased helicopters in 2017. Airwork Holdings Limited and Waypoint Leasing came in second and third with a fleet of 27 and 22 leased helicopters, respectively. In terms of replacement cost, the ‘Big Four’ lessors — Milestone, Airwork, Waypoint and LCI – those with over $200 million of leased assets, accounted for approx. 65% of the total fleet; boasting assets of US$1.1B, US$242M, US$268M and $204M replacement cost, respectively.
Of the 245 helicopters leased in the Asia Pacific region, 82 (33%) were Airbus, 62 (25%) were Leonardo and 55 (22%) were Bell. The Leonardo AW139 was the most popular leased helicopter model, with 53 units (21%). Airbus H125 and the Airbus BK117 came in second and third with 23 (10%) and 22 (9%) leased units.
Around 36% (89 units) of the helicopters leased are used for multi-mission operations. Offshore O&G helicopters make up around 35% (85 units) of the total leased fleet but represent more than 50% of the leasing market in terms of replacement cost. Additionally, 46 helicopters (19%) are used for EMS operations. This number is expected to grow in the future. Most of the helicopters leased belong to the medium-sized category, with 146 (around 60% of the total leased fleet), followed by single-engine and heavy-size models, with 63 (around 26%) and 20 (around 8%), respectively.
The leasing market growth slowed down in 2018, growing by only 1.2% in 2018 compared with 19.8% in 2017. PNG had the largest increase in leased helicopters, increasing by five helicopters. Of these five additions.
The helicopter leasing market experienced considerable change in the last quarter of 2018. With overall revenue and fleet utilization rates decreasing, Waypoint Leasing, one of the biggest lessors in the Asia- Pacific region, filed for bankruptcy in November 2018. Australia-based Macquarie Group agreed to buy out Waypoint’s assets and combine its fleet with Waypoint’s. This transaction, which is expected to close in early 2019, will cause a dramatic change in the region’s leasing market, with a new player emerging. The bankruptcy also raises concern on the performance of the offshore industry. As EMS grows in the region, it may eventually replace offshore O&G as the main growth driver for leasing companies.