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Airbus Helicopters sees big growth in leasing, finance options

Airbus Helicopters is observing increasing interest from leasing firms and the finance sector in the heavy helicopter market.

The last 24 months has seen a significant rise in the number of rotorcraft transactions involving a lessor or financing solutions, says Derek Sharples, the helicopter manufacturer’s managing director for Southeast Asia.

“It is mainly focused on big helicopters at the upper end of the product range, such as the EC225 and [Sikorsky] S-92,” says Sharples, speaking with Flightglobal at the company’s regional headquarters in Singapore.

Sharples says the market is growing on two fronts, with the lessors providing traditional leasing deals to operators, and banks and other firms showing an increased willingness to finance helicopter purchases.

“We’re also seeing more interest from banks to provide more innovative leasing arrangements,” he says.

He adds that banks can be willing to offer financing terms between five to eight years, whereas in the past operators had no choice but to buy new aircraft outright.

Despite the growth of this market, however, he says that lessors or other finance providers are still involved in less than 10% of helicopter deals globally.

“Just a few years ago the figure was probably zero,” he says. “It is very encouraging because it helps us work with potential customers. Customers increasingly ask if we can help with finance solutions with banks or other investors.”

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