Airbus Helicopters delivers three workhorse EC225s to Milestone Aviation Group for African oil and gas operations by SonAir

CDPH 4302-33 © Copyright Eric Raz 2014 (PresseBox) (Marignane, France, ) The worldwide fleet of EC225s that perform heli-lift duties for oil and gas operators increased by three today with Airbus Helicopters' triple delivery of workhorse rotorcraft acquired by Milestone Aviation Group and leased to SonAir - an African operator - which will utilize them in Angola.

The handover ceremony in Marignane, France marked the latest such EC225 deliveries by Airbus Helicopters, with these rotorcraft expanding SonAir's operating fleet, which already includes 12 EC225s, four AS332 L2s and three AS365 N3s.

Underscoring the importance of today's event were the attendance of SonAir CEO João Andrade; a team of representatives from Milestone Aviation Group, a global leader in helicopter leasing; along with a representative of the oil and gas company as the end-user.

"This event celebrates our first deliveries to Milestone, emphasizing the EC225's importance within the expanding helicopter leasing market," said Airbus Helicopters CEO Guillaume Faury. "It also highlights the confidence SonAir accords to the EC225 as a powerful, and highly capable, helicopter for the most demanding missions."

The helicopters delivered yesterday are part of Milestone Aviation's record orders with Airbus Helicopters for 30 total EC225s, which were announced in 2012 and 2013.

"We are excited to commence a relationship with SonAir, Africa's largest offshore oil and gas operator, with these three EC225s" explained Milestone Aviation's Managing Director Robert Dranitzke. "As a true workhorse in offshore oil and gas operations, the EC225 continues to demonstrate its capability in the most demanding operational conditions - from the North Sea and Gulf of Mexico to Africa - and we are confident these aircraft will serve SonAir and its customers well in the years to come."

SonAir is a subsidiary of the Sonangol Group, a structured aviation service provider in Angola, and the largest African helicopter operator. Its inventory of helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft provide services to major oil and gas companies as its core business.

"By further growing our EC225 fleet, SonAir's customers will benefit from the performance delivered by this helicopter," added SonAir's Andrade. "The EC225 has become a mainstay of our operations, and proves its capabilities every day."

The EC225 is Airbus Helicopters' latest version of its Super Puma family, providing a high-performance rotorcraft in the 10-11 metric ton category. This heavy twin-engine helicopter's modern technologies, excellent useful load, five-blade main rotor and low vibration levels make it an efficient solution for oil and gas missions - including offshore and passenger transport as well as search and rescue (SAR) operations.

About SonAir

SonAir Serviço Aereo, SA, a subsidiary of Sonangol Group, is a structured aviation operator in Angola, using both helicopters and planes, providing services to all major oil & gas companies as its core business and also to the State as complementary business. SonAir started as an aviation department and today, after more than 30 years in the industry operates a fleet of over 25 helicopters. SonAir's mission is to provide safe and reliable air transportation services, assuring an optimal economic balance. SonAir is today the largest African helicopter operator and 90 percent of the fleet is dedicated to the Oil and Gas, flying both offshore and onshore. The onshore flying is also supported by fixed wing activity. The workforce rounds about 1000 employees, mainly nationals: the expat workforce is less than 15 percent. Internationally, SonAir also offers a closed charter, direct service from the US to Angola dedicated to the Energy industry. Our vision is to be the leading operator of air transportation in support of the national Oil and Gas Industry, with regional expansion, acting safely, with quality and competitively.

About Milestone Aviation Group

Milestone Aviation Group is the global leader in helicopter leasing. Since launching in August 2010, and as of December 31, 2013, Milestone has acquired 143 aircraft valued at over US $2.2 billion and closed leases with 26 operators in over 20 countries on six continents. The company has a forward order book of over 130 firm and option aircraft valued at over US $3.0 billion. These near-term delivery positions of in-demand helicopters are made available for lease globally. Milestone partners with helicopter operators worldwide and supports them through 100 per cent operating lease financing. The company provides financing for helicopters, serving a variety of industries, including offshore oil and gas, search and rescue, emergency medical services, police surveillance, mining and other utility missions. Further information is available at www.milestoneaviation.com.

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