Milestone Aviation, November 11, 2014 - Dublin, Ireland – Milestone Aviation Group, the global leader in helicopter leasing, announced today that it has closed seven of 12 helicopter leases to Bristow Helicopters Limited, an affiliate of the Bristow Group.
The helicopters will be used for civilian search and rescue (SAR) services when Bristow Helicopters takes over delivery of UK SAR services on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) in 2015.
Milestone will provide Bristow 11 Sikorsky S-92 helicopters and one AgustaWestland AW189, which have a combined value of more than US$420 million.
Four of the S-92s are operating currently from the Stornoway and Sumburgh bases in Northern Scotland. Three S-92 aircraft are in other UK locations for training purposes. Four additional S-92 aircraft are in production. The AW189 helicopter that Milestone will provide is one of 11 AW189s that Bristow will operate under the UK SAR contract.
“Today’s announcement is the culmination of three years working with Bristow on this bid, and represents a textbook example of a successful long-term partnership,” said Milestone Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard Santulli. “We are pleased to do our part to support Bristow and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency as they work to save lives throughout the UK.”
“We are thankful to Milestone, our primary lessor, for working with our affiliate Bristow Helicopters and supporting the implementation of UK SAR,” said Jonathan Baliff, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bristow Group Inc. “Milestone is a creative and committed partner. The operational lease financing that Milestone provides is a vital part of our capital plan and enables us to cost effectively serve the people of the UK in executing our SAR mission to save lives.”
The Department for Transport in the United Kingdom awarded Bristow Helicopters Limited a £1.6 billion contract to provide civilian search and rescue services for the UK on March 26, 2013. Bristow began SAR operations in 2013 from the Stornoway and Sumburgh bases. By summer 2017, 10 helicopter bases will be fully operational across the UK. In total, Bristow Helicopters will provide 11 Sikorsky S-92 and 11 AgustaWestland AW189 helicopters that will be located at 10 bases across the UK. Each SAR base will operate either two S-92s or two AW189s, and one of each type can be deployed as needed to be used for training.
About Milestone Aviation Group: Milestone Aviation Group is the world’s leading helicopter leasing company. Since launching in August 2010, and as of September 30, 2014, Milestone has acquired a fleet of 168 helicopters worth US $2.8 billion and supports 31 operators in 25 countries on six continents. The company has a forward order book of 131 firm and option aircraft with an estimated aggregate purchase price of US $3.0 billion. These near-term delivery positions of in-demand helicopters are made available for lease globally. Milestone partners with helicopter operators worldwide and supports them through lease financing. The company provides financing for helicopters serving a variety of industries, including offshore oil and gas, search and rescue, emergency medical services, police surveillance, mining and other utility missions.
About UK SAR: By summer of 2017 there will be 10 Coastguard helicopter bases around the UK, all operated by Bristow on behalf of Her Majesty’s Coastguard. The helicopters will provide search and rescue many miles out to sea, all the way around the 10,500 miles of UK coast and will also operate extensively inland. The Sikorsky S-92s and AgustaWestland AW189s can fly further and faster than those helicopters they replace. The latest technologies including night vision, infrared, thermal imaging and high illumination lighting technology will all be used by the crew to find people in distress and bring them to safety.
About Bristow Helicopters Ltd: Bristow Helicopters Ltd is the leading provider of search and rescue (SAR) services in the UK, on behalf of Her Majesty’s Coastguard, having been awarded the UK SAR contract and the Gap SAR contract for Northern Scotland. Bristow Helicopters has a long history of providing world class SAR services in the UK, beginning in 1971 and has flown more than 44,000 SAR operational hours in the UK and conducted over 15,000 SAR missions, during which more than 7,000 people have been rescued by our crews and helicopters. Bristow Helicopters Ltd. has served the offshore oil transport industry in the UK for nearly 60 years. Bristow Helicopters Ltd. is an affiliated company of Bristow Group Inc.