Milestone Aviation, a fully Irish registered and Dublin headquartered company, will be headed up by Bill Kelly. Mr Kelly is the former chief executive of NetJets Europe, the private jet leasing company partially funded by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway investment vehicle.
The choice of Dublin as the main location for the company is in line with many international aircraft leasing companies attracted by the high quality relevant skills pool, infrastructure and benign tax climate. The 40 jobs will be created over the coming three years.
Milestone is, however, looking to fill a vacant gap in the local market by shunning trade in commercial aircraft to focus on leasing private jets to companies and, in the main, helicopters for government and corporate use.
The core element of its business will be the leasing of large functional helicopters to emergency services, oil and gas exploration companies looking to ferry workers to oil rigs and offshore sites and healthcare companies.
Milestone will take an order from a company, buy the helicopters and lease them out to the client on a monthly basis.
The company claims to be the first globally-focused speciality finance company focused exclusively on helicopter and private jet leasing.
The Dublin-born Mr Kelly, a former accountant with KPMG who left NetJets towards the end of last year, said the company is in negotiations with potential clients in the exploration sector and hopes to be in a position to announce a couple of deals within the next six weeks.
Milestone has already secured $500 million (€380m) in capital backing from American private equity houses The Jordan Company and Nautic Partners.