By MALUM NALU
Nationally-owned helicopter company Heli Solutions has added a third aircraft worth K5.5 million to its fleet in less than two years.
The helicopter, a Bell 407, landed at Jackson Airport in Port Moresby on Monday evening after a four-day flight from Sydney.
Captain James Pima, who is 50/50 owner of Heli Solutions with Captain Phil Emeck and who flew the helicopter from Sydney, said actual cost was about K6 million taking into account shipping, customs, and other costs.
|Pima at Jackson Airport yesterday with the new K5.5 million Heli Solutions helicopter that he flew in from Sydney on Monday evening.-Nationalpic by MALUM NALU|
He said the helicopter was bought from a business tycoon in the Bahamas last year after clocking only 400 flying hours, was flown to the USA where it had accessories fitted, and was shipped to Sydney in early November and arrived in Sydney late December.
“After Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) PNG issued a certificate of airworthiness, it was test-flown by me, and we (Pima and two Heli Solutions technical staff) departed Sydney at 6.30am last Friday,” Pima said.
Their four-day trip took them through New South Wales and Queensland in Australia, and Daru and Kerema in PNG, before arriving in Port Moresby.
Pima said the need for helicopters was increasing all the time, especially given the resource boom in the country, and the new helicopter would join the existing two in a very busy schedule.
“It will be used for general charter operations, mining, VIPs, telecommunication, government, and other private jobs,” he said.
“The demand on the local helicopter market is increasing all the time.
“There is a need for more participants in the industry, but there is a critical shortage of manpower (pilots and engineers) in the industry.
“There is also lack of facilities.”
Pima and Emeck, ex school mates at primary and high school and later PNG Defence Force pilots before turning commercial, brought in their first helicopter in August 2011 and their second in May 2012.
Last year the company was awarded a K13.7 million contract to carry out election work for the Electoral Commission.