Waypoint Leasing today announced orders and commitments for up to 38 new rotorcraft at the Helitech show in London. In a deal agreed with Airbus Helicopters, the Ireland-based company signed to buy up to 20 H135 singles over the next three years, making it the first lessor to offer the type in its portfolio. Firming up commitments made in earlier contracts, Waypoint also agreed to acquire 18 AgustaWestland helicopters: a mix of AW189 super medium twins, AW169 light intermediate models and the AW139 intermediate.
According to Waypoint CEO Ed Washecka, the H135s will supplement the larger H145 models that it acquired from Airbus to build up its fleet of emergency medical service (EMS) aircraft. The H135s can also be used in roles such as law enforcement and rescue, and offshore work.
Waypoint was also the first lessor to the H145. It ordered 25 of the type in February 2014 as part of a wider deal that also included 12 of the larger H225 twins.
The new AgustaWestland aircraft, which are to be delivered between 2016 and 2019, are intended for a mix of EMS, search-and-rescue, and oil-and-gas support operations. They build on a major order placed with the Italian manufacturer in March 2013. Waypoint already owns 31 AgustaWestland helicopters and 25 Airbus aircraft, also including the H225.
Commenting on Waypoint’s efforts to diversify the types of operation that its lease fleet supports, Washecka acknowledged softening demand in the oil-and-gas support sector. “It’s always been a cyclical industry and right now it’s certainly a tough market, but the world still consumes a lot [of oil and gas] and leasing helicopters is a good option for companies because it provides good flexibility,” he told AIN.