Following our detailed analysis of the H225/AS332L2 fleet movements yesterday there is one other key contract for H225s which we can now provide more details to.
In late May, the French Government announced that Airbus signed a €555 million ($643M) deal with Ukraine for 55 helicopters. The Ukraine Government have said that this covers 24 H125s, 10 H145s and 21 H225s [all other aviation press reports have wrongly claimed the split between H125 and H145s had not been revealed]. Ukraine Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has detailed that the 21 H225s are split further into 3 SAR models and 18 for transport roles.
To fund the purchase of these 55 helicopters, Ukraine will be borrowing all €555 million at 4.25% per annum from the State Treasury of France and a consortium of French banks. The deal includes setting up a maintenance base in Ukraine and training of both pilots and engineers.
However, it is that figure of 21 H225s which raises our interest further.
Further investigation has found that some/most/all 21 H225s for Ukraine are ex-offshore H225s currently owned by leasing companies. Once source narrows that down to the 21 being “owned by French banks” and it is unlikely to be a coincidence that Parilease – the leasing arm of French bank BNP Paribas – has a fleet of precisely 21 H225s parked up, and three of these were in SAR specification for North Sea work off Norway. All 21 are currently on the Isle of Man aircraft register and are reportedly stored in France. The fleet were hand-backs or repossessions from the Chapter 11 process of operator CHC.
In October 2016, the helicopter trading company Avinco announced that they had struck a deal “to recover, manage and remarket a fleet of EC225s previously operated by CHC following the operator’s filing for Chapter 11”, and that the fleet consisted of 18 in offshore configuration and 3 with SAR equipment. HeliHub.com revealed that the leasing company could only be Parilease.
While we agree that there is some conjecture here and no 100% proof yet, it seems beyond the chance of possibility that the Ukraine H225 fleet purchases are all ex CHC offshore repossessions or hand-backs.
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com
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