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Heli-Expo 2017: Milestone targets EMS market

9th March 2017 - 20:26 GMT | by Beth Maundrill in Dallas

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While Heli-Expo has not been saturated by helicopter orders, leasing company Milestone Aviation announced two orders, one with Airbus Helicopters valued at €200 million and one with Leonardo valued at €90 million.

Both orders include a mixture of light and medium aircraft, reflecting a trend in the market towards EMS applications. This order makes Milestone the largest owner of commercial Airbus helicopters.

'Milestone was very active in emergency medical services and other parapublic segment in 2016, and this order gives us near-term availability for H145 and H135 aircraft to support growing demand for new technology in these segments,' said Milestone president and CEO Daniel Rosenthal.

The Airbus order is to include H135s, H145s and H175s. Milestones current helicopter fleet includes over 60 Airbus platforms with a cost of almost $1 billion.

Leonardo will supply Milestone with six AW139s and three AW169s. According to Rosenthal, most of the helicopters in this order have already been placed with customers to support contracts beginning in 2017 and 2018.

Milestone leased seven AW169 aircraft in 2016 into geographically diverse EMS segments. Most recently the company leased an AW169 to HeliKorea for EMS operations in South Korea under a new partnership. This is HeliKorea's first commercial lease.

Milestone also leased 11 AW139s in 2016, with most of those helicopters serving non-oil and gas missions, proving the versatility of the aircraft.

While EMS is the main focus, the aircraft can also be utilised for surveillance, search and rescue, utility, fire-fighting and oil and gas crew transport.

Milestone has a fleet of helicopters worth over US$4 billion, with $1 billion in leases and letters of intent signed in 2016. The company has a forward order book of firm and option aircraft with an estimated aggregate purchase price in excess of US $3 billion.

In 2016, Milestone wrote 23 leases and letters of intent in the EMS sector alone, and another 12 in other parapublic missions.

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