By Beth Maundrill
New and emerging markets are being explored by the helicopter industry with Waypoint Leasing making its first transactions in the Chinese market.
The company announced during Heli-Expo 2017 that it has a lease agreement with Shanghai Skyway General Aviation Company as well as an agreement to lease an Airbus AS350 B3 helicopter from its existing fleet to another operator in China.
Waypoint will be providing Skyway with support and helicopter transportation of a new Airbus H135, which will be used for emergency medical services (EMS).
‘Working with China does take time,’ Clark McGinn, senior vice president at Waypoint admitted. ‘It took us about nine or ten months to be able to do our first transaction. China business tends to move at its own pace.’
McGinn added that the EMS market in China was certainly taking an upward turn following a mixture of changing airspace regulations alongside beginning to set up a larger EMS presence in the country.
The company is currently running its China operations out of its Singapore office, established 18 months ago.
McGinn also commented that the EMS market was very strong at the moment noting that the industry is expecting a number of major public tenders from Europe in the coming months.
While the Chinese market may be emerging there is still some way to go and is likely a long-term investment for the company.
The EMS market is bolstering, not just in China, and Waypoint has also signed an agreement for more than €100 million with Airbus Helicopters for 16 aircraft including the H135 and H145. These will primarily be used for EMS and utility missions worldwide.
The key focus for the company in the coming months is working on a market of people who were traditionally more likely to buy aircraft outright, according to McGinn.
‘Even if they lease some of their fleet and buy some it means we can provide some liquidity for them if the market takes a downturn,’ he added.
With lessons being learned from the downturn in the oil and gas market, helicopter leasing is continuing to be a lucrative business.