Deals between lessor AerCap and China Southern Airlines are nothing out of the ordinary but the latest agreement between the two may raise a few eyebrows.
That’s because rather than being the sale of a commercial aviation workhorse like the Airbus A320 or Boeing 737, the transaction instead covers the acquisition of a helicopter.
Of course, you won’t see the new aircraft – a 19-passenger Sikorsky S-92 - lining up alongside the rest of the Chinese carrier’s fixed-wing fleet. That’s because it will be operated by subsidiary China Southern Airlines General Aviation (CSAGA) for offshore oil and gas missions.
And rather than AerCap itself, the sale has been handled by its helicopter leasing unit Milestone Aviation Group.
Pat Sheedy, Milestone Aviation chief executive says: “We are very pleased to welcome China Southern as a new customer to Milestone, following a long and successful business relationship with our parent company, AerCap.”
AerCap acquired Milestone Aviation as part of its purchase of fellow lessor GECAS in November 2021.
No details of the airframe to be acquired have been released, but Milestone Aviation currently holds seven S-92s in storage, according to Cirium fleets data.
CSAGA currently manages more than 30 helicopters across 11 different types.