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J. Jandu (CEO LCI): Lease Corporation International is characterized by bold decisions

The LCI subsidiary of the Libra Group is constantly making bold decisions that characterize its entire strategy, as Jaspal Jandu, CEO of Lease Corporation International, characteristically states in an interview with Capital.gr, referring to the recent agreement with BETA Technologies for the purchase of eVTOL technology aircraft. The relevant agreement was announced in April and concerns the acquisition of up to 125 electric aircraft vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL – electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing).

Jaspal Jandu, CEO of Libra Corporation International

LCI focuses on promoting responsible entrepreneurship by promoting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (ESGs). In this context, it develops collaborations and invests in the latest generation of technology. This supports LCI’s commitment to maintaining a new, state-of-the-art fleet based on sustainable technologies.

Interview with George Lampiris

– Mr. Jandu, LCI recently signed an agreement with BETA Technologies for eVTOL aircraft. Can you tell us about this deal? What does it foretell for the future of LCI and the Libra Group?

LCI has a proven track record of buying and selling and adopting new innovative technologies that promise to revolutionize the aviation industry.

The timing of this deal was crucial and is based on LCI’s long history of making the right move at the right time. In late 2008 and early 2009, we bought 44 aircraft in a six-month period when the market was in decline, which allowed us to take advantage of the market recovery and sell the aircraft from 2015 onwards – the last one in February 2020 shortly before the next recession as the coronavirus pandemic appeared.

Since then, we have been strategically developing our future-focused fleet, focusing on meeting the needs of our existing and future customers. The technology developed by Beta on the ALIA-250 eVTOL aircraft is amazing, as it produces zero carbon emissions, can travel 250 nautical miles on a single charge and is designed to carry five passengers and one pilot or 1,400 pounds (635 kg) payload.

This agreement reflects LCI’s strategic commitment to growing its portfolio in a sustainable manner. As a subsidiary of the Libra Group, LCI is also able to synergize the Group and its portfolio – including the hospitality, shipping, renewable energy and most recently a rare earth supply chain. For example, we discuss with Aria Hotels, the Greek hosting company of the Libra Group, the use of eVTOLs, with the aim of further upgrading and sustainability of the tourism industry in Greece.

– What is considered to be LCI’s strategic advantage in the aviation industry?

As I mentioned, LCI is a bold company and we have a proven track record of seizing the opportunities created between the cycles of the economy (growth – recession) in the aviation sector. Since our inception in 2004, LCI has traded US $ 8 billion in the aircraft and helicopter markets. We are a global company and now have a fleet of aircraft on four continents for a variety of uses, including emergency medical services, search and rescue and offshore wind farm support.

As a subsidiary of the Libra Group, we can be more flexible in adapting to the market or locating and integrating industry-leading technologies such as eVTOL aircraft.

For example, a few years ago, at the beginning of LCI development, Airbus made us an offer to buy 11 brand new A330 aircraft destined for Singapore Airlines, but with a very short time frame within which we could commit to buy them. The price was about US $ 1 billion for the 11 planes. After direct and prompt consultation between LCI’s management and the Libra Group Board of Directors, we decided to proceed with the market and, as a result, LCI owned 13% or 14% of Singapore Airlines fleet and was its largest lessor. for a while.

This flexibility, combined with the knowledge from the Libra Group and its network of subsidiaries, gives us a competitive advantage. We are also looking for trusted partners who reflect our values ​​and are able to build long-term relationships and synergies. What we are very proud of is that at the beginning of June 2022, LCI will have a fleet of about 300 aircraft. Thus, we have a history of steady growth, while we were also able to be one of the market leaders.

LCI beta Libra
Electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing Touch Electric Aircraft (eVTOL)

– What is LCI’s development strategy?

Our investment in eVTOL technology is just the last chapter in a history of growth and diversification. As I said, we will continue to use our know-how for investments that have long-term value.

An important part of our development is through partnerships with reliable, global partners, where we have built or are building strong and long-term relationships. Most recently, we partnered with Sumitomo Mitsui Finance Leasing (SMFL) on a $ 250 million joint venture to help accelerate our growth. We also have the support of major financial institutions such as Investec, Santander, Thora Capital and Rive and long-term relationships with major manufacturers such as Airbus and Leonardo, whose aircraft are the backbone of our current fleet. We look forward to continuing to build our relationship with BETA Technologies, whose innovative approach fits in perfectly with ours.

– What ESG criteria does the LCI fleet have?

A large part of the LCI fleet operates in critical and socially sensitive areas, such as emergencies, search and rescue, – in short, our fleet saves lives on a daily basis. Recent activities include emergency medical services, search and rescue, pilot transport. In addition to our latest order of electric eVTOL aircraft, we are a leader in supporting the energy transition and are one of the first aviation landlords to target offshore wind energy.

As eVTOL aircraft come on the market, we will be able to reduce the disastrous footprint for passenger and cargo transport. The full transition to zero-carbon transportation will of course take time, so we are working with other top aviation leaders to accelerate decarbonisation. For example, LCI is a member of the Airbus Helicopters Sustainable Aviation Fuel Group (SAF) and the Aircraft Leasing Ireland Sustainability Forum.

– How have the ESG criteria changed your choices as a company?

We are and remain focused on promoting responsible entrepreneurship while promoting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (ESG). We do this through our partnerships and investing in the latest generation of technology. This supports LCI’s commitment to maintaining a new, state-of-the-art fleet based on sustainable technologies.

Social responsibility, diversity and inclusion are at the “heart” of LCI and are core values ​​of our parent company, the Libra Group. Women make up over 33% of all LCI employees.
Our legal team consists of women and only one male lawyer.

This diversity is quite unusual in the aviation sector. Women – our leaders focus on empowering the next generation of women in aviation – visit schools to talk about their careers, roles and opportunities in the field. Libra Group’s global subsidiaries strongly support diversity, including legal advice. All but one of our legal advisors are women.

We also leverage synergies with the Libra Group to build our business in new, sustainable ways. For example, the Libra Group is the main strategic investor in GreenMet, which aims to develop sustainable supply chain infrastructure for critical rare earth minerals, such as green steel, to meet the green energy and technology needs of the US and North America. Of America.

These metals will play a vital role in the development of Advanced Air Mobility systems and eVTOL vehicles and infrastructure. There are also synergies with Libra’s global shipping subsidiary Lomar, including the ability to service offshore wind farms and further Renewable Energy Sources.
We are excited about the future and are at the forefront of sustainable transport and innovation.

– Given that Lease Corporation International maintains one of the largest aircraft fleets in the world, leasing helicopters and aircraft to third parties, are there any new investments planned in both sectors in the future?

We are committed to increase our presence in all markets in which we operate. We are constantly looking for opportunities to expand and diversify our activities. However, we closely monitor market cycles and proceed -periodically- to strategic de-investments and reinvestments. As I said, we are committed to a fleet of about 300 aircraft. We will continue to grow strategically, with the basic aim of anticipating the needs of our customers. Innovation is and will continue to be at the core of our business.

This approach is part of our DNA and started in 2004 with the purchase of 20 commercial jet aircraft and led us to grow into a fleet that exceeds seven times that size. We have many exciting investment plans in the works!

Source: Capital

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