As we enter the second half of a busy year for Air Niugini, I welcome the opportunity to update our valued passengers and business partners on three key areas that the board and management are focused on delivering.
Air Niugini has now taken delivery of all nine Fokker 70 (F70) aircraft, acquired from KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. They will be fully in service in the coming months when branding, refurbishing and installation of Wi-Fi are completed. The refurbishing includes the installation of customised business class seating.
Since we began the introduction of the F70 aircraft just over 18 months ago, we have been monitoring customer feedback, as well as carrying out our own detailed assessment of the performance of the aircraft. The response from passengers has been very positive.
The positive response matches our own assessment of the aircraft for fuel efficiency and other key factors that were influential when the management and the board decided to make the introduction of the F70 the key component of the largest fleet upgrading in Air Niugini’s history.
The F70 will become the ‘work horse’ of the airline’s main domestic services, and our regional services in the Pacific region. Its smooth introduction is a tribute to our management, and our flight crew, engineering and ground support staff.
The second major area Air Niugini is focusing on is the progressive switch to the Sabre Solutions Passenger Service System (PSS). Sabre is the world’s largest PSS provider.
The changeover will take effect from October 1, and will deliver the most modern and reliable e-commerce services that are available. They will include multiple fare access, bookings, seat selection, check-in, and the whole range of other online products the Sabre system makes available to major airlines around the world.
In a competitive environment – domestically, regionally and internationally – Air Niugini is determined to provide the most reliable and efficient services for all our passengers and commercial partners.
The switch in our PSS supplier means challenges for our management and staff. I am delighted the change is happening very smoothly and will be delivered on schedule. It will also deliver some important cost savings for Air Niugini at a time when we are focusing on reducing costs that don’t compromise safety or service.
Air Niugini will conduct an extensive marketing and information campaign highlighting the modern and extended online services we will offer when Sabre is fully implemented. The campaign will build on other business customer focused initiatives we have implemented, including the new Port Moresby Business Travel Centre.
The third area Air Niugini will be focusing on, in the second half of this year, will be the introduction of direct commercial services to Shanghai, China, in December.
Having successfully introduced regular services to the Federated States of Micronesia, and Townsville in North Queensland, the direct service to China is our next priority.
Our team will be seeking to work closely with the Tourism Promotion Authority ( TPA), the travel industry and business to ensure the introduction of this service is successful.
Air Niugini and the TPA will host a series of ‘China Ready’ workshops in the coming months to prepare our commercial partners, and other customers, for the new direct flights. There is no doubt that both the tourism and business sectors will benefit greatly. It will also further enhance the development of Port Moresby as a regional hub.
The direct service will also enhance Papua New Guinea’s already strong diplomatic, trade, investment, and people-to-people links with the world’s fastest-growing nation.
In conclusion, I commend to you the excellent article in this edition by the editor, titled ‘Fifty reasons to love PNG’. It brings together in one article a snapshot of just how much PNG has to offer our visitors, and our own community. Air Niugini is proud of the role it plays in helping to meet the growing opportunities our tourism industry has today and in the future.
Enjoy your flight.
Sir Frederick Reiher, KCMG, KBE Chairman, Air Niugini Limited