Implementing a vision to provide aviation services safely and efficiently, with a commitment to provide best in-class skill and flair in every project
Writer: Phoebe Calver
Project Manager: Arron Rampling
Hevilift Ltd is a Papua New Guinea (PNG) based company with 100 percent PNG ownership, with Landowner content. Hevilift has one of the most advanced and diverse fleet of fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft in the industry, driven by a highly experienced team and a desire to provide top-class service.
There is an evolution occurring within PNG at present, and the Company has subsequently adapted its continuous improvement strategy to ensure it keeps up-to-date with the ever-changing market.
“Twice a year our management team will sit down together and look into our efficiencies, including staff and the calibre of those staff,” explains Peter Cannon, Chief Executive Officer at Hevilift. “We work hard to hire people who possess the right experience, meaning we start with our local market, then regional and then if need be we look a little further afield.”
Making the right senior management selection is important to Hevilift and recently the Company has demonstrated this with the addition of a Chief Pilot from North America.
“We choose the senior roles by analysing experience in the industry we will predominantly be working with, alongside years of contract and similar experience,” adds Cannon. “A vital part of continuous improvement through our staff is training and upskilling our national staff, and bringing in industry experts from all over the world to vastly improve our team.
“Whether it is pilots or engineers, through adopting this strategy we have been able to develop a multicultural Company from both a national and global standard.”
It is very common in PNG to hire from the Australian market due to the close proximity, with many companies also seeing it as a more cost effective method. Hevilift has strayed from that hiring model though, with pilots and engineers trained in country through cadetships and apprenticeships while hiring talent from the UK, Germany, Philippines, Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US, Spain and Russia.
“As a part of our hiring strategy, we have developed and implemented training systems to further demonstrate our commitment to continuous improvement,” affirms Cannon. “This includes online training which would have previously been carried out in a classroom, and subsequently it becomes more mobile and inclusive.”
Diversity of work
With its head office based in Singapore and regional offices based in Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia and of course PNG, the Company has an impressive reach across Asia and Australia.
“Approximately 65 percent of the whole group and its operational activities are located in PNG,” continues Cannon. “We have 500 staff in the region, and close to 50 aircraft which we have primarily focused in the energy and resource sector. Moving forward we are looking to incorporate a larger variety of mining projects as well as oil & gas within the region.”
In support of Hevilift’s operations in PNG over the years, PNG Air Services has worked with the Company to provide and maintain safe air navigation, communication, surveillance, and air traffic control services.
In the early days, the Company started as a relatively humble regional aviation operator with a combination of aircraft. Over time Hevilift became a strong entity in projects utilising helicopters and particularly Russian helicopters - hence the name Hevilift - since evolving to become a well respected service provider in the industry.
Hevilift have become a one-stop shop where clients can fly on Hevilift’s fleet of fixed wing aircraft on international sectors, then moved into the field by smaller fixed wing aircraft and the final leg of the journey to site carried out using helicopters.
“When you look at the structure of operations in PNG - as well as the environmental issues we regularly deal with - we are well positioned to cope with our now extensive range of choppers and fixed wing aircraft,” states Cannon. “We are able to carry out seismic work loads, carrying heavy equipment that is almost impossible to get in by road.”
As well as supporting these large-scale projects, the Company also uses helicopters as a means to transport passengers to hard-to-reach sites while adapting and evolving its safety ethos in the process.
As previously mentioned, PNG is perhaps one of the more difficult countries to operate in, particularly due to the fact that the majority of the country’s business is still carried out in remote areas with little infrastructure.
“The regulations we are working with haven’t evolved yet to that of European standards and we are working tirelessly to meet that standard,” Cannon describes. “For years now Hevilift have embarked on a safety-driven culture, and a large part of that includes engaging closely with some of our major clients - including Exxon, Newcrest Porgera Joint Venture (PJV), TOTAL, Oil Search, Anglo American & Highlands Pacific, PNG Defence Force, Pan Aust and Harmony Gold - to evolve and meet their high industry standards.”
Through achieving those standards, doors have opened and Hevilift has been carrying out international flights from Australia to PNG for two different clients.
Cannon adds: “Our improvements to this area have expanded tenfold each year and we are continuously working to improve our aircraft operations in line with international standard over the next two years.”
At present, the Company still runs some of the older airframes that are required in the market. As markets develop Hevilift will need to mature the airframes with them.
Alongside structural advancements to its fleet, there have been numerous capital investments made to the Company’s technology systems. Through revamping the entire IT structure with new servers, microwave link conferencing systems, software, computers and centralisation of drives, these advancements have brought about a breath of fresh air to Hevilift’s internal workings over the past six months.
Top of its game
Over the years the Company has worked on extensive projects, showcasing time and time again the style of work that Hevilift has become so reputed for in the market.
“We have recently started a project where a Russian helicopter is helping to build a school in an area so remote that our helicopters provide the only possible way of getting equipment on-site,” continues Cannon. “Simultaneously, we are also working on the development of a clinic, supporting and setting up the general infrastructure for the clinic by delivering cargo.”
It is important for a company’s growth in the industry to consistently have projects in the pipeline - preferably long-term - and a prime example would be Hevilift’s work on Exxon projects that have lasted ten years-plus.
Alongside its most recognisable work, Hevilift is also involved in medical evacuation, and search and rescue work. This includes making use of its extensive experience in working with helicopters, with a particular focus on training the PNG defence force and their crewmen in order to be ready for response.
“We have found a surprising amount of possible paths within our operations over the years,” affirms Cannon. “Although there are many companies that are trying to get in on a bit of the action, we have found that our constant innovation and strategy has kept us relevant and at the top of our game in the industry.
“We have used our time in the industry well to ensure that we are a cut above the rest. Moving forward we hope that with continuation of this attitude, our Company will grow and expand to new and exciting levels and markets.”