7-Jan-2022 Source: HeliHub.com
British EMS operator Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance (D&SAA) have bought out the “other half” of the Leonardo AW169 operated for them by Specialist Aviation Services (SAS). Prior to the transaction date in December, their aircraft was owned by SAS (Dorset & Somerset) Ltd, a company set up in 2017 jointly owned by the charity and SAS.
The “other half” was owned by SAS was subject to an asset charge from ABN AMRO Lease NV according to publicly available data. That charge was satisfied on 22nd December 2021.
Charity CEO Bill Sivewright told HeliHub.com that the existence of SAS (Dorset & Somerset) Ltd was a risk mitigation exercise as D&SAA was one of the first three British air ambulance charities to take on the AW169, at a time when the aircraft type was still in its infancy. Their airframe was the 27th off the production line. They now consider that the AW169 has reached a point of maturity, and D&SAA wanted full control of the asset.
The charity would not have found the transaction financially onerous in any way – D&SAA accounts at 31st March 2021 show over £36 million in cash and realisable investments.
As soon as the company SAS (Dorset & Somerset) Ltd had completed its usefulness, SAS renamed it Specialist Aviation Services (123) Ltd
D&SAA took three independent valuations to ensure the transaction was at a fair price. The accounts show that their half of the original 2017 transaction was £3.43 million.
Having recently moved from single-pilot to multi-pilot operations, D&SAA are working towards 24×7 operations, and getting all pilots NVIS qualified. Part of the move to 24×7 is to have a more assured accessibility to a second aircraft, and consideration is being given to options of sharing, leasing or buying a second AW169. There are no plans for a second base, and their facility at Henstridge Airfield continues to serve them well, particularly in its geographically central location to the two counties that they serve.
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com