Hubline venturing into O&G air transportation

KUCHING: Hubline Bhd ’s newly acquired aviation company Layang Layang Aerospace Sdn Bhd will buy eight more aircraft and venture into the air transportation service for the oil and gas (O&G) industry.

According to Hubline vice-chairman Datuk Richard Wee Liang Chiat, Layang Layang Aerospace is in the midst of procuring two additional fixed-wing aircraft and six helicopters (two twin and four single engines) to support the growing demand of general aviation services in the region.

“Layang Layang Aerospace is currently engaging with a helicopter manufacturer for procurement of the helicopters for the O&G operation.

“Layang Layang Aerospace is a registered service provider for Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) and is entering into the O&G air transportation service with bases in Miri and Kota Kinabalu as one of its major upcoming projects,” he said.

O&G transportation is picking up again and Layang Layang Aerospace, with its safety record for the last 25 years and with good backing of Hubline, is in a good position to expand into the sector, he added.

Layang Layang Aerospace is a recipient of numerous safety awards from the Helicopter Association International.

With the additional aircraft, Wee said this would boost Layang Layang Aerospace fleet to 28 aircraft, comprising helicopters and fixed wing, making it the largest general aviation operator in Malaysia.

Currently, Layang Layang Aerospace owns four fixed-wing aircraft and seven helicopters. The company charters in a further six helicopters and one aircraft which it manage on a full time basis and lease two others.

Layang Layang Aerospace provides a comprehensive range of services, from flying doctor to emergency medical services, search and rescue operations to aerial sightseeing, aerial survey, mapping and photography to aerial precision lifting and construction services as well as passenger and air cargo transportation.

Hubline, which is involved mainly in dry bulk shipping, paid about RM14.2mil for a 51% equity interest in Layang Layang Aerospace.

The acquisition is to broaden Hubline’s revenue base by diversifying into air logistics and other areas of aviation.

He said Layang Layang Aerospace, in collaboration with an internationally accredited company, is setting up a calibration laboratory for aviation tooling and equipment in its complex in Kota Kinabalu.

“With its experience in the heavy maintenance of the Bell 208 gearboxes, which is approved by the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia, Layang Layang Aerospace is setting up another heavy maintenance workshop for the Rolls Royce M250 engines that power the Bell 206s helicopter and Normad aircraft.

“On the maintenance and repair business, Layang Layang Aerospace has started the setting up of two major workshops for the general aviation in Sabah and Sarawak,” said Wee.