Lobo leases one AW139 to THG


Dublin-based lessor Lobo Leasing has leased one Leonardo AW139 to South African operator Titan Helicopter Group (THG).

The helicopter is configured for off-shore operations and will fly transport, EMS and SAR missions on the coast of Namibia for off-shore mining vessels.

The last lease Lobo closed was in December 2017, leasing a similar offshore configured AW139 to operator CHC – the first deal Lobo made with CHC since the operator restructured.

Lobo CCO, Mark Kelly, said: “We are pleased to team up with such a reputable operator as THG to further diversify our fleet into off-shore mining support which is a new market area for Lobo. Having known Titan for a long time, we welcome the opportunity to support its modern fleet with this AW139”.

THG is one of the largest operators in South Africa, focussing mainly on offshore drilling and oil-rig support. However, it runs a number of more-niched operations supporting mining, heavy-lift construction, logging and resupply missions. It operates a majority of medium twin-engine helicopter in its fleet, including the Bell 212, Sikorsky S-61 N and S76 C.

Martin Steynberg, THG chairman said: “Lobo was able to provide flexibility and the ideal helicopter for the job and worked efficiently with our team to build a lease that matched to our specific needs. We look forward to a long-standing working relationship with Lobo Leasing.”

Lobo on the AW139

The AW139 is a cornerstone of Lobo’s business, performing well during the helicopter market downturn post the 2008 financial crisis. Its multi-mission abilities and the largest passenger capacity in its class ensured a steady stream of orders during the downturn.

Speaking to Helicopter Investor in December, Mr Kelly said: “The Leonardo AW139 is a very important helicopter within Lobo’s fleet and we are very encouraged by how the helicopter performed during the recent downturn.”

“Leonardo continues to improve the product and makes upgrades available on the installed fleet where possible. This is one of the factors working to maintain the long-term value of the helicopter which makes it a good type for companies investing in helicopters such as Lobo.”

Market Perspective

Whilst the offshore mining market is more niche than offshore oil and gas, but the aircraft you use to service the vessels are similar. Lobo did not need to order any further helicopters to support this lease, opting to use one of their existing helicopters for the transaction.

Mr Kelly said: “Demand is starting to pick up but there is still a lot of idle helicopters in the market, so it is better for us to place helicopters we already own on new operations rather than take delivery of new aircraft.”