The way in which aircraft are financed and operated is changing as new aircraft concepts begin to enter the marketplace. George Land, HAV’s Commercial Business Development Director, provides an overview of the options our customers will have when it comes to financing and operating Airlander.

Financing new aircraft types

Traditionally, aircraft OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) build aircraft and sell them to operators, sometimes purchased outright and sometimes with the support of a financial intermediary. However, the mainstream aircraft finance market seeks out proven assets and is therefore not well suited to supporting new aircraft types with early customers. As a result, the financing of early Airlanders could present a challenge for those customers who do not typically purchase assets outright.

At Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) we are working to be able to support the full spectrum of the needs of our customers. In order to provide this flexibility, HAV has secured a $200 million commitment from Global Emerging Markets. This investment, which will become available upon HAV’s successful listing, will allow HAV to hold aircraft on our balance sheet. This approach means HAV can offer more options to our customers on how they own and operate aircraft. These options vary from a more traditional purchase right through to leasing and chartering.

Operating new aircraft types

Airlander is a piloted aircraft which will be Type Certified to fly with one or two pilots. Type Certification is the regulator’s approval for the aircraft type – Airlander 10 – to enter service and indicates that the aircraft meets or exceeds all safety and performance requirements expected of commercial aircraft.

In order to deliver commercial services using Airlander, the aircraft must be operated by an organisation with an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC). Because Airlander is a new aircraft type and uses lighter-than-air technologies, which are unusual for many operators, HAV will offer a range of different service models to our customers. This allows us to tailor the offering to each customer’s requirements, streamlining access to aircraft and Airlander’s entry into service.

Under both purchase and lease ownership models, Airlander can be operated by the customer under their own AOC. This is the traditional aviation model and will remain an option for HAV’s customers. In addition to this, we will also partner with AOCs in order to deliver more comprehensive operated services to our end customers.

An example of an operator partner in the UK is 2Excel Aviation, who have experience across all areas of aircraft operation and maintenance. HAV may also partner with other AOC holders around the world.

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