Milestone Aviation Group Finances Helicopters for Bristow Helicopters Ltd. UK SAR
November 11, 2014
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.
“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.”
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.
“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.