PORT Moresby based helicopter operator HeliScope PNG signed a joint venture agreement on 9 January with the Yulai Landowners Association Inc., which the company says will drive local training and employment opportunities.

The HeliYulai joint venture proposes to provide helicopter services to the Goilala region and Tolukuma area in Papua New Guinea.

Active involvement and opportunities for the local Goilala people through employment and training have been outlined as a key focus by HeliScope.

Initially, two local graduates will travel to Australia for specialist training as load masters and certified rigging experts, the company said.

As business grows, more recruits will undergo training in logistics management.

In addition to providing local employment and training, a percentage of the revenue from HeliScope PNG’s flights in the Goilala region and Tolukuma area will be allocated to community projects governed by the Yulai Landowners Association.

Present at the signing of the HeliYulai joint venture were local members of government and representatives from the Mineral Resource Authority.

Three local clan leaders from Hameng, Yaulo, and Yangam also attended.

HeliScope PNG chief executive Giles Rooney was pleased with the agreement and said he believes it is a sustainable plan for everyone involved.

“It’s very exciting to be involved with the Yulai Landowners Association, we have worked hard with them to ensure the arrangement serves the client well and the community well.”

Mr Rooney started his aviation career in PNG before leaving to fly internationally.

“It’s very rewarding to be able to come back to where I started long ago and give something back to the country where my career began.”

Yulai Landowners chairman George Gusi said the community will benefit from the agreement and are pleased to have a working interest in the aviation sector.

“Having the local people involved at this level is very exciting for us,” Mr Gusi said.