Helicopter Investor London 2023 – LIVE


Welcome to the #HelicopterInvestor23 Live Blog. 

#HelicopterInvestor23 is well underway at the Royal Garden Hotel, London. Check back here throughout the event for updates and highlights.

#HelicopterInvestor23 – One of the other benefits of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is that it reduces emissions aside from CO2; emissions, like sulphur, which are linked to aromatics. “The thing with SAF is you can control aromatics, so working to 100% SAF you could blend it ideally with the proportion of aromatics that works for the engine seals, but still reduce emissions,” said Jean Souetre, Sales & Marketing VP, Safran Helicopter Engines. 

However, the industry is still in the early days of devising specific blends to achieve a particular level of aromatics. 

#HelicopterInvestor23 “We have certified a drop in fuel up to 50% at the moment which gives a lot of headroom to work with,” said Laura Bowden, global marketing manager, Air bp. “We are at a less than 1% market share with SAF right now.”

“Air bp is looking at increasing feedstocks. One of the areas we are looking at is cover crops. Cover crops are grown in between food production to keep the soil in good condition. We have a deal with a company called Nuseed Carinata,” said Bowden. “Yes, feedstocks may be more expensive, but we know if we are to grow overall volume feedstocks will have to grow too.”

#HelicopterInvestor23 – We talk about having control over the scheduled maintenance, but we believe we can have control over the unscheduled side too. “Having more durable parts and engines tends to have an impact on supply chain,” said Ismael Rhissa Zakary, director, Corporate development and EMEA Strategy, Pratt & Whitney Canada. “We have to attack the problem at different angles, no one solution is the answer.”

#HelicopterInvestor23 “Arguably, every bad decision in human history can be boiled down to poor planning,” said Joe Hawke, chairman & CEO, Uniflight Global. 

#HelicopterInvestor23 – There are always supply chain issues, you need to have an infrastructure in place to cope with it, according to Carolyn Forsyth, general manager, Sales,Commercial & Customer Support, Heli-One. “You want to do as much as possible with the things you can control. There needs to be more integration, planning and longer term relationships when it comes to supply chain management,” she said. 

#HelicopterInvestor23 – Community commitment and collaboration absolutely works when it comes to working towards zero with regards to safety record, according to Tim Rolfe, CEO, HeliOffshore. 

#HelicopterInvestor23 – On economic life, Gerard Deterne, CEO and founder, Pteron Valuations, said: “We tend to think about the asset itself. But you can also think about economic life when talking about the parts. Those parts can still some value maybe higher than the helicopter itself. There may be a point in time where it could make more sense to part out the helicopter.”

#HelicopterInvestor23 Emmanuel Dupuy, president, Aero Asset gave us three takeaways from the 2022 market: Firstly, sales to North America dominated transactions in 2022. Last year, North America represented almost half of all transactions whilst Europe only quarter. 

Secondly, sales activity of 20-year-old plus helicopters experienced a “very strong resurgence year-over-year”. Sales in both other age segments slowed down but not in the 20-years-plus segment, largely due to price position. 

Lastly, Dupuy said there is a clear correlation between supply and preowned transaction price. “If we extrapolate forward through 2023, assuming supply increases, we should see average pricing soften in some markets,” he said.

#HelicopterInvestor23 – On Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), Thato Matsha, aviation finance consultant, Investec said: “I think from a bank’s perspective we are not going see the the real  effects right now. The issues we are seeing at SVB is not the same as 2008 so how we deal with it has to be different. Also confidence in banks is very important.”

#HelicopterInvestor23 – Camille Brunel, partner, RIVE Private Investment, also referencing SVB, said: “I am not a central bank. I think it is just one more episode of problems we see from time to time. It is one edition of volatility in the market. But we have so many other problems to worry about, this does not concern me greatly. Central banks have demonstrated a willingness to ensure stability. I mean look what happened in Switzerland at the weekend.”

#HelicopterInvestor23 “In 2017 I was told to shut up now I spend about 30 of my time on environmental, social and governance issues. And it is mainly just environmental, in truth,” Michael Halaby, MUFG Bank.

#HelicopterInvestor23 – According to Jaspal Jandu there are many parts to the equation in your investment decision. “Near term performance, payload range… more and more you are thinking about sustainability but in a different way.”

“You start hitting challenges. If someone said ‘Jas, right go and create a green lease tomorrow’. Well why are you doing it? Are you greenwashing? There are a lot of questions but not many answers right now,” he said.

#HelicopterInvestor23 “Building aircraft for which there is a big demand is already an advantage because the actors in the supply chain want to support as you have the right volumes,” said Roberto Garavaglia, SVP Strategy & Innovation, Leonardo Helicopters.

#HelicopterInvestor23 “Our existing fleet is struggling in terms of not enough parts available to keep it serviceable,” said Keith Mullet, MD, PHI International. “The ability for us to be resilient and respond to the upturn is not as strong as it was, especially if you go back on a 10 year parallel.”

Mullet said the industry now has to look forward further than it has in past and begin to create risk sharing relationships. “Are we sleepwalking into a crisis? Maybe not, but we are weaker than we have been before and we will not be able to solve this like we were able to previously,” said Mullet.

#HelicopterInvestor23 – Sara Dhariwal, Ascend by Cirium, believes the industry has encountered a perfect storm with respect to the S92 sector. “The market has really picked up,” she said. “It got me thinking, what did we say last year? I sat here and said we had to get to grips with the S92s, we either had to begin retiring them or deploy them back into service because the excess had such strain on values. Then it moved very quickly in Q2 2022, and it has now been difficult for the manufacturing industry to keep up as well. 

“The market behaves so differently in different sectors,” added Dhariwal.

#HelicopterInvestor23 – “We’ve got a zombie fleet of aircraft” that has been butchered and taken from to keep the rest of the fleet flying, according to Steve Robertson, director, Air and Sea Analytics. “I think there is an economic case to keep parting out that fleet to keep the rest flying. Last year we parted out a 10yr old S92,” he added.

#HelicopterInvestor23 – Regarding the the potential implementation of carbon removal fees by leasing companies, Crispin Maunder, executive chairman, LCI said: “How many ticket the box for carbon offsets on their tickets? As has been said, if the end user is prepared to pay then we will be the intermediary.”