Kiwi birds over the Philippines
24th September 2013 by Reuben Levermore, Manila | 1 Comment
Nearly everyone in the Philippines seems to know that New Zealand is home to more sheep than people, but I was recently surprised to learn that New Zealand has more helicopters per head of population than any other country, and around one aircraft for every 1000 people. Or, to put it another way, one aircraft for every 9,000 sheep!
New Zealand’s aviation industry is a growing internationally focused sector. It accounts for over $US 3 billion in export receipts alone. That includes pilot training, baggage handling systems, airport management and of course passenger transportation.
A few weeks ago, I joined the management team of Helicopters New Zealand (HNZ) at the inauguration in Manila of a new hangar and helicopter to serve the Malampaya oil and gas field.
Although HNZ is a Canadian-owned company, its international division is headquartered in Nelson, New Zealand. In countries such as New Zealand, helicopters operate in diverse and challenging environments. HNZ’s support for oil exploration and production goes back 45 years.
The Malampaya gas field is enormously important to the Philippine economy. Malampaya fuels three power plants with a combined capacity of 2,700 megawatts or equivalent to 40% of the power generation requirements for Luzon, the northern region of the Philippines that is home to around 50 million people including the capital city, Manila.
This is an example of the kind of high-end niche service that New Zealand specialises in – where our companies can bring value, quality and efficiency to businesses in the Philippines. HNZ’s local partner in servicing the Malampaya field, INAEC Aviation Corporation, is part of the Lopez Group of companies, which has been a valued partner for New Zealand in geothermal energy and now in aviation also.
The Malampaya field is developed and operated by Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. (SPEX) on behalf of joint venture partners Chevron Malampaya LLC and the Philippine National Oil Co.-Exploration Corp. (PNOC-EC).