Air Safa launches aircraft leasing business in India with Airbus H125 helicopter

Picture of an Airbus H125 helicopter with an Air Safa logo on it.

Air Safa Pte. Ltd., a Singapore based aircraft leasing company, has signed a purchase agreement with Airbus Helicopters for one H-125 helicopter with the option to add another one in the future. The H-125 will be placed its first dry lease to Indian operators for multirole missions, including passenger transportation.

K Murugan, director, Air Safa, said: “We are a staunch Airbus customer and have chosen the H125 as the first product because it has an impressive performance and is known for its power, versatility, low maintenance cost and safety features.”

Ashish Saraf, head of Airbus Helicopters, Airbus India & South Asia said: “The H-125 outclasses all other products in its category and is the helicopter of choice for multirole missions.”  

The H-125 – which according to Airbus – has completed 35m flight hours worldwide, is a common sight at the pilgrimage areas in India. It is also being used to develop new helicopter market segments in the country, mainly geophysical surveys, power grid maintenance and emergency medical services.

Murugan told Helicopter Investor that Air Safa set up its business last year and revealed the lessor has also signed a wet lease operation deal with Delhi-based company Skyport Multiservices. The deal includes five Airbus H-125s (with one more to follow) and one H-130 helicopter.

There are many [lessors] working in Europe, USA and the Middle East, but no one supporting start-ups and very smaller operators in the South-east Asian region – servicing India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka,” he said. “Currently, we are hoping to do business in Romania, in partnership with Majestic Airline Services SRL and in India as Air Safa itself.”

As a new entrant itself, Air Safa understands the difficulties of breaking into the market. And this is why supporting start-ups is central to the lessor’s business model. Murugan could not reveal operators that Air Safa plans to work with but said it will make deals concerning aircraft with fewer than 10 seats and more than 50 seats.

Other confirmed projects include the leasing of a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to a private investor in Mauritius at the end of October. The company is also working on a wet lease in Greece, for two H-175s, a dry lease for A220s in Spain and further plans for leasing two Bombardier Q400s and two Airbus A220s in Romania.

Murugan said business aviation, helicopters and freight have provided a great safety solution to avoiding crowds during the pandemic. “We are likely to have better chances here than in commercial at the moment,” he said. Air Safa will also explore the urban air mobility space in a “couple of years”.