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Business Air News Bulletin
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Airbus Helicopters and LCI unveil new Flight Path partnership
Airbus and LCI are to partner on the development of advanced air mobility ecosystems and unveil a new Flight Path partnership to address long-term capacity, sustainability and financing.
Airbus and LCI will look into strategy, commercialisation and financing of the CityAirbus NextGen.

Airbus and lease company LCI are to jointly develop ecosystems for advanced air mobility, focussing on the development of partnership scenarios and business models in three core AAM areas: strategy, commercialisation and financing.

"We are excited to extend our long-standing relationship with LCI, an innovative lessor that is globally unique in its positioning across the commercial fixed wing, helicopter and advanced air mobility sectors," says Balkiz Sarihan, CEO and head of urban air mobility at Airbus. "LCI's combination of operational expertise, customer networks and financial insights, complements Airbus' technical innovation in flight technologies, and will enable us to collectively drive the development of advanced air mobility. Together, we will take concrete steps towards the co-creation of next generation AAM ecosystems and our decarbonisation roadmap."

"We are delighted to be forging this new partnership with Airbus. For two decades, LCI and Airbus have delivered capacity and financing solutions to airlines and operators across the globe, and we are now extending that to advanced air mobility," adds LCI CEO Jaspal Jandu. "Transportation and logistical networks have a duty to be efficient, sustainable and scalable. Both LCI and Airbus take a holistic and pragmatic view of advanced air mobility, including vehicles and also infrastructure, financing and network adoption. By combining our respective strengths, we will incubate and accelerate an entirely new generation of aviation."

Both partners will collectively develop AAM market perspectives and forecasts, conduct industry research and harness data analytics to understand new applications and missions. They will support the development of new AAM solutions, evaluate new commercial structures in areas including fleet, battery and charging network solutions.

As part of the collaboration, LCI will become a key financial partner for Airbus' advanced air mobility projects around certain mission types, such as emergency medical services, and will leverage its network to aid global take up and acceptance. It will also explore innovative leasing and finance solutions for potential customers for the CityAirbus NextGen.

Airbus finalised the assembly of its CityAirbus NextGen and powered on the vehicle at the end of 2023. In the next phase, the company will commence the vehicle's test campaign, during which it will make use of its new AAM test centre in Donauwörth, Germany.

The two companies have also unveiled a new Flight Path partnership, which will address the long-term capacity, sustainability and financing requirements of the industry. Airbus predicts demand for over 16,000 new helicopters by 2041, with a combined value approaching $130 billion.

Going forward, Flight Path will also include investment in further helicopter units, types and technologies, with a growing emphasis around sustainability.

Jandu says: "This strategic partnership signals our collective commitment to deliver long-term, sustainable capacity solutions to the market. The combination of Airbus' long-standing expertise in business development, forecasting and planning, with LCI's track record in leasing, investing and financial innovation, will enable us to sustainably address the multibillion dollar requirements of the market."

Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters, adds: "LCI and Airbus have worked together in close cooperation for almost two decades, culminating most recently in the delivery commitments for seven next generation helicopters. This new partnership is a natural elevation of this relationship and one that reflects our shared capabilities. Together with our partners, Airbus Helicopters is committed to delivering sustainable growth and innovation to its customers as they undertake their mission-critical work."

LCI's fleet currently includes over 50 Airbus Helicopters, deployed by 14 operators in 10 countries on a range of missions.

The first phase of Flight Path will see the committed delivery of at least seven latest generation Airbus Helicopters to LCI by 2025. LCI has ordered five new Airbus H145 helicopters, all of which are being placed in its joint venture with Sumitomo Mitsui Finance and Leasing Company. The first two aircraft are being delivered by the end of March 2024 and will be operated in Oceania. In addition, LCI will deliver two H175 helicopters by the end of March 2024 for operations in South America.

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