Air Niugini grows domestic traffic

12th Dec 2007

Air Niugini has sent-off Viva Macau B767-300 aircraft
and thanked the Viva Macau management and crew for their assistance to Air
Niugini to carry out international service from September 2007. The Viva
Macau B767-300 operated PX008 as its final flight to Manila and Hong Kong.

Air Niugini’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Wasantha Kumarasiri said that a

replacement A310 wide-body aircraft has been arranged by Air Niugini from

Portugal;  White Airways S.A. to operate its international schedule until

Air Niugini’s own wide-body aircraft is introduced to the fleet.


p>White Airways S.A. aircraft will service the Australian sectors for a week

as a Charter service and Japanese route as a regular service whilst the

B757 from Icelandic Air will operate other Asian routes.  After all

regulatory approvals are secured the B757 will service the Australian route

while White Airways S.A aircraft will operate to Asia.  Meanwhile the

code-share passengers with Qantas will have transitional arrangements for a

day or two.


White Airways S.A will apply for services into the Australian regular

schedule service after completion of the first week’s charter service.


Prior to changing aircraft in August 2007, Air Niugini had overwhelming

demand from the traveling public to change the then operated B767-300ER.

Air Niugini responded to these demands and the change is now in motion.

Plans are in place to get the replacement aircraft. However, the delays

experienced are due to reasons beyond Air Niugini’s control. Around three

to four years ago, there were many aircraft in storage where airlines could

source from. Such environment does no longer exist and the market for wide

body aircraft has become very scarce in the recent years.


On the domestic service, the F100 aircraft leased from Canadian North Inc.

is expected to arrive within the next few days and enter service before

Christmas.  Furthermore,  a Dash 8-315 aircraft will be departing Germany

before the end of this week; it will take one week to ferry the aircraft to

PNG.  This aircraft is expected to be in service before Christmas.


With the introduction of the above aircraft, Air Niugini will have adequate

redundancy to provide better customer service to its traveling public.


Mr Kumarasiri said that within the last two years, the aviation industry

has gone through a lot of changes.  Huge shortage of suitable age wide-body

aircraft,  an acute shortage of experienced pilots and other technical

staff,  rising fuel and technical staff wage costs and entry of low cost

carriers with increased competition are among the major challenges.

Additionally,  the   PNG’s geographical environment and infrastructure

facilities add more challenges to Air Niugini’ operation.


As at January 2006, Air Niugini was operating a fleet of eleven aircraft.

Since then the airline has introduced four F100 into service while another

is being introduced;  bringing a total of five additional aircraft to the

fleet,  further added three Dash 8-300 series into service and two wet

leases,  making it ten aircraft introduced within this period.  The

introduction of ten aircraft within such a short period is a mammoth task.

Air Niugini is currently working towards introducing a dedicated Dash 8

freighter on its domestic network and another Dash 8 passenger aircraft to

meet its customer obligations.


Once the plans are fully implemented, Air Niugini will have six F100s,

eight DHC-8,  one wide body and one narrow body long range aircraft making

the total fleet of sixteen aircraft. The fleet will allow the airline to

increase frequency to its current destinations in both domestic and

international and also to operate to new destinations.


It is pleasing to inform the general public, that since the lowering of

domestic airfares in February this year, the domestic traffic volume has

grown close to 20%.  On the international service, Asian international

routes have experienced close to 10% growth.


The introduction of the above aircraft into PNG service has become possible

only with the assistance and support from various regulatory authorities

and government agencies in PNG and Overseas, banks and dedicated staff who

believe   in Air Niugini.  As the Chief Executive Officer take this

opportunity   to   thank all the authorities,  banks,  management team,

consultants and staff for their continued assistance and the Shareholder

and the Board of Air Niugini for direction and guidance.


Mr Kumarasiri also extended the airline’s appreciation to the traveling

public for their continued support and co-operation to Air Niugini and

takes this opportunity to wish all customers, Stakeholders and staff a very

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


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