Avi­a­tion in­dus­try moves through tran­si­tional phase

Lead­ing air­lines and air­ports in Pa­pua New Guinea are experiencing sig­nif­i­cant change as the coun­try’s econ­omy grows and it pre­pares to host ma­jor in­ter­na­tional events.

Business Advantage Papua New Guinea - - Aviation -

Pa­pua New Guinea’s avi­a­tion in­dus­try is set for a new era af­ter na­tional car­rier Air Ni­ug­ini de­liv­ered a ma­jor shakeup by es­tab­lish­ing do­mes­tic sub­sidiary, Link PNG. Hav­ing re­cently cel­e­brated 40 of con­tin­u­ous ser­vice, Air Ni­ug­ini launched Link PNG in Novem­ber 2014 with the aim of pro­vid­ing more choice to lo­cal trav­ellers through a safe, low­cost car­rier. The new air­line will com­pete with the POMSOXlisted air­line Air­lines PNG and char­ter ser­vices.

‘The car­rier will also ser­vice PNG routes on a com­mu­nity ser­vice obli­ga­tion (CSO), en­sur­ing that not only are re­mote and less prof­itable ser­vices main­tained, but pro­gres­sively ex­panded to meet the grow­ing trans­port needs of the na­tion and its peo­ple,’ Air Ni­ug­ini Chair­man Sir Fred­er­ick Rei­her ex­plained at Link PNG’S launch.

The cre­ation of Link PNG re­moves the risk of air ser­vices be­ing re­duced through an own­er­ship re­struc­ture of Air Ni­ug­ini or pri­vate sec­tor cap­i­tal in­jec­tion, ac­cord­ing Rei­her. In­stead, he said, ser­vices will be ‘guar­an­teed and in­creased’.

Popular routes be­tween Port Moresby and Lae have been ex­panded, while des­ti­na­tions such as Mount Ha­gen, Kavieng, Hoskins, Lae, Kun­di­awa, Madang, We­wak, Mendi and Daru have also re­ceived a boost.

Mod­ern-day com­pany

Link PNG, which is led by Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Daniel Wanma and based at Port Moresby’s Jack­sons Air­port, op­er­ates as a sep­a­rate en­tity with its own board and man­age­ment. It launched with seven air­craft and 145 em­ploy­ees.

Air Ni­ug­ini CEO Simon Woo said the move geared Air Ni­ug­ini to en­gage in smarter busi­ness prac­tices through the de­liv­ery of avi­a­tion ser­vices in a cost-ef­fec­tive man­ner.

‘It’s im­per­a­tive that Air Ni­ug­ini em­braces new and mod­ern ways and means of de­liv­er­ing its ser­vices,’ Foo says.

Air Ni­ug­ini is plan­ning to add new in­ter­na­tional ser­vices to ac­com­pany the do­mes­tic re­struc­ture, and has ac­quired a Fokker 70 air­craft for use on ex­panded routes to Fiji, Van­u­atu and other Me­lane­sia coun­tries.

Air­lines PNG de­mand

Mean­while, cus­tomer de­mand has led to Air­lines PNG strength­en­ing its do­mes­tic net­work, with the com­pany im­prov­ing its ser­vices be­tween ma­jor routes such as Port Moresby and Lae, ex­pand­ing is­land links to air­ports at Kimbe and Kokopo on West and East New Bri­tain, and adding sev­eral new des­ti­na­tions.

Air­lines PNG has also wel­comed a new Chair­man, Mur­ray Woo, to the com­pany fol­low­ing the res­ig­na­tion of Simon Wild af­ter more than six years in the po­si­tion, and bol­stered its fleet to 14 by adding two Dash 8 air­craft.

Air­port ex­pan­sions

Ex­pand­ing do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional ser­vices are be­ing com­ple­mented by the Na­tional Air­port Cor­po­ra­tion’s K1.4 mil­lion (US$520 mil­lion) re­de­vel­op­ment of PNG’S ma­jor air­ports.

Ahead of the 2015 Pa­cific Games and 2018 APEC Sum­mit in Port Moresby, Jack­sons In­ter­na­tional Air­port is un­der­go­ing wide­spread im­prove­ments to ac­com­mo­date the in­creases in traf­fic as­so­ci­ated with a grow­ing econ­omy.

The cen­tre­piece will be an ex­ten­sion to the in­ter­na­tional ter­mi­nal, which is ex­pected to be com­pleted in time for the Pa­cific Games in July 2015.

Lae’s Nadzab Air­port is pre­par­ing for a range of projects to cater for grow­ing re­quire­ments in the com­ing years, in­clud­ing an im­proved run­way, big­ger and more func­tional ter­mi­nals, and devel­op­ment of air­port re­lated in­dus­tries.

Mean­while, con­struc­tion of the Lae–nadzab Road up­grade into a four-lane high­way is con­tin­u­ing, with its com­ple­tion ex­pected dur­ing 2016.

Air­port reopens

Aropa Air­port on Bougainville was re­opened last De­cem­ber, 24 years af­ter be­ing shut­down due to a cri­sis on the is­land.

Three air­lines—air Ni­ug­ini, Air­lines PNG and Travel Air—made their first flights to Aropa dur­ing the month, and there have been dis­cus­sions re­gard­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of launch­ing flights be­tween Bougainville and the Solomon Is­lands.

A new air­port in Mount Ha­gen is ex­pected to open in 2015 to help the city emerge as an agri­cul­tural hub.

An artists’ im­pres­sion of the new in­ter­na­tional ter­mi­nal at Port Moresby’s Jack­sons In­ter­na­tional Air­port

Link PNG’S Daniel Wanma

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