Commercial

Milestone Heads to Dallas With New Boss, Business Line

By James T. McKenna | March 6, 2017
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Bristow S92A

Bristow S-92A. Photo courtesy of Bristow

Milestone Aviation Group (booth 7520) comes to Heli-Expo with a portfolio of more than 225 heavy, medium and light twin engines, a new top officer and new involvement in debt financing for some of its biggest customers.

The GE Capital Aviation Services company, which is based in Dublin, Ireland and claims to be the global leader in helicopter leasing, says it has firm orders and options for new helicopters that values at more than $3 billion.

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Those orders and options cover the Airbus Helicopters H135, H145, H175 and H225, Bell Helicopter 525 Relentless, Leonardo AW139, AW169 and AW189 and Sikorsky S-76D and S-92.

Like other lessors, the downturn in the offshore oil and gas support market has added heavy and medium helicopters to its inventory of used aircraft, which also includes such smaller types as the Airbus H130, Bell 412 and Leonardo A109.

Daniel Rosenthal has expanded responsibility for managing that portfolio of orders, options and used aircraft and sustaining relationships live with lessees in the market place. On Jan. 1, he added to his duties as Milestone’s president the roles of CEO and chairman. A co-founder of Milestone, Rosenthal has served as president since 2009.

Coinciding with Rosenthal’s appointment, Milestone announced in December that Chairman Richard Santulli, who also had been an officer of GE, would be leaving that giant conglomerate. The company said Santulli, who in 1986 launched the first-ever fractional aircraft program that became NetJets, would serve Milestone in an advisory capacity.

“Milestone is the leader in helicopter financing because of the dedication Dan and his entire talented management team bring to their work serving customers and partners around the world,” said GE Capital Aviation Services President and CEO Alec Burger. “As the global helicopter industry continues to evolve, I am confident that Dan and his team have the skills and experience Milestone will need to continue as the industry leader.”

Reflecting that evolution, Milestone earlier this year committed to giving Bristow Group a $230 million loan secured by 20 of that operator’s helicopters. (At the same time, Bristow obtained a $200 million credit agreement with Australia’s Macquarie Bank, which also is secured by 20 Bristow oil and gas helicopters.)

“These financings represent a key step in maintaining our position up in the industry leadership, through the bottom of this down-cycle as we begin an early and fragile recovery offshore,” said Bristow President/CEO Jonathan Baliff Feb. 3.

Late last year, milestone and its affiliates agreed to provide CHC Group with $150 million and asset-based financing to help underwrite its plan to emerge from its current Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding in the U.S. The federal bankruptcy court in Texas in late February was reviewing presentations by CHC and its creditors regarding approval of that plan.

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