Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. (SPEX) is set to complete the transfer of its helicopter base from Puerto Princesa to the newly-inaugurated aircraft hangar of INAEC Aviation Corporation inside Lio Airport in El Nido and begin hangar operations soon.
“The safety and security of our people are of paramount importance to us,” SPEX External Relations Manager for Upstream Paulo Gavino said.
“This move underscores our commitment to our frontliners – offshore platform crew members who recognize no holidays, are based offshore several weeks at a time, and tirelessly work in shifts to ensure that Malampaya powers Luzon reliably 24 x 7. Truly they and their families are the heroes of Malampaya,” he added.
By transferring the Malampaya helicopter base to the new 825-square-meter INAEC Hangar E2 in El Nido, the flight time for the transport of personnel to and from the offshore platform will be significantly reduced by over 70 percent.
Kiril Caral, Managing Director of SPEX, said during the inauguration ceremony of the new INAEC hangar in El Nido: “The relocation of the helicopter base from Puerto Princesa to El Nido offers significant benefits to Malampaya. Flight time is reduced from 55 minutes to 15 minutes, which means improved safety, reliability and efficiency of our operations.”
The strategic position of the INAEC Hangar E2 in El Nido also provides easier access to search and rescue resources including support from the Joint Task Force Malampaya, a composite team of the Philippine Air Force and the Philippine Navy with support from the Philippine Coast Guard.
This will help improve the security of the Malampaya offshore crew, especially in cases of offshore emergencies with shorter response times.
INAEC was established in 1932 as the first Filipino-owned private airline in the country. In the early 2000s, INAEC began operating and providing helicopter transport services to oil and gas producers.
In 2013, INAEC partnered with SPEX and PHI International for the helicopter transport of Malampaya personnel from Puerto Princesa to the offshore platform.
Costing P45 million, the construction of INAEC Hangar E2 began in April 2021 and was completed in March this year.
“This to us is more than just a structure. This represents a true milestone for INAEC. It is symbolic of a continuing and evolving partnership whose end objective is to keep the lights on in the Philippines,” INAEC President Jay Lopez said.
“The infrastructure in El Nido has far outpaced other airports in the country,” added PHI International Base and Contract Manager Brian Curie.
Through its high-quality helicopter services, PHI International has successfully performed the challenging task of transporting the Malampaya crew to and from the offshore platform safely for the last eight years.
“We are proud to work together with the pioneers and most trusted names in the air transport and air charter industry to help power the lives of millions of Filipinos across the country,” Gavino said.