Air Niugini was recently named best state-owned enterprise employer for 2015, by the PNG Human Resource Institute.
Given the enormous challenges the management team, and all employees, of Air Niugini have faced in recent times, and especially throughout 2015, this award is a significant achievement.
As I have commented in earlier editions of Paradise, Air Niugini has had to undertake a major restructuring of salaries and conditions for all its employees.
There has been a reduction in overall employee numbers, achieved almost entirely through redundancies and voluntary retirement.
Not only has Air Niugini been acknowledged as the best SOE employer during this difficult period, the airline has also avoided industrial action. In this regard, we applaud our HR general manager, Rei Logona, for being awarded the best individual human resources practitioner of the year.
The board of Air Niugini joins with me in congratulating our management team, headed by our chief executive officer Simon Foo, and all our 2237 employees who share in this award.
We also acknowledge the co-operation we have received from the unions and associations representing our employees during the negotiations on revised awards and conditions.
This recognition has reminded me of the contribution Air Niugini makes towards the training and skilling of our employees, our flight crew and maintenance engineers in particular.
Since the cadet pilot training scheme was re-introduced in 1988, over 80 Papua New Guineans have progressed to be fully qualified pilots of our aircraft fleet right through from Dash 8 to Boeing 767 airplanes. So far, five female pilots have graduated under this program, and the recruitment of more females to be trained as pilots is receiving priority.
In August this year, a milestone will be achieved when the first group of Air Niugini aircraft maintenance engineer cadets will complete four years training with the Air New Zealand Aviation Institute under a 10-year agreement Air Niugini entered into in 2012.
There are 38 cadets undergoing training under this program, which over the 10-year period, will cost Air Niugini close to PGK20 million.
It represents a very important investment in the training of national employees in a key area for the airline – aircraft maintenance.
Air Niugini also undertakes extensive training and career development programs for employees across the airline’s operations.
Our overall commitment to the career and professional development of our employees is today stronger and more effective than it has ever been.
As the national carrier, Air Niugini operates every day and night of the year and that means many of our employees have to give up being with their families on holidays and weekends.
The loyalty and dedication of our employees not only ensure the continued operation of the services Air Niugini and Link PNG offer, but has also enabled us to achieve on-time departures and arrivals at the highest level in our 42-year history.
Recently we revitalised our service ambitions under an extensive customer care program to improve our delivery of service to you, our valued customers. To that end, I thank all the employees of Air Niugini, no matter what their position in the airline, for helping the board and management achieve a smooth restructuring of our operations that will secure the airline’s future.
Enjoy your flight.