Rotor Magazine: Helicopter Financing Options

How the trends in finance and leasing have changed over the course of last few months, are you now seeing more helicopters being financed OR leased?

Helicopter financing has had a turbulent few years. The belief that oil and gas prices would stay high forever, indefinitely pushing up demand for offshore oil exploration was a driver behind much of the excess and hype.  

Add to this phenomenon, public and private equity’s new interest in helicopter operators and lessors, and those investors’, possibly misplaced, opinion that companies owning the aircraft should be separate from the operators of the aircraft (i.e. operators should be asset light, or lighter). 

The result: a period of new helicopters sales that outpaced underlying customer demand, propelled by the optimistic view that oil would never go below 75 and partly by private equity money entering the space like a group of lemmings. When oil prices eventually did collapse, the fall was steeper than it should have been because of the leverage in the industry and the private equity money artificially propping it up.