A mes­sage from Air Ni­ug­ini’s chair­man

Paradise - - In Paradise | Contents - Sir Fred­er­ick Rei­her, KCMG, KBE Chair­man, Air Ni­ug­ini Limited

The re­tire­ment of Si­mon Foo on March 30 as chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Air Ni­ug­ini de­serves to be ac­knowl­edged. In thank­ing him, and wel­com­ing our act­ing CEO, Ta­hawar Dur­rani, I want to briefly out­line some of the sig­nif­i­cant achieve­ments made dur­ing Si­mon’s five years as CEO.

In re­sponse to the di­rec­tive by the board of Air Ni­ug­ini for sig­nif­i­cant re­struc­tur­ing to achieve greater ef­fi­ciency and se­cure the airline’s fi­nan­cial fu­ture, the airline’s man­age­ment, un­der Si­mon, im­ple­mented a ma­jor re­struc­ture, in­clud­ing a re­view of em­ploy­ment conditions, without in­dus­trial dis­rup­tion.

It also un­der­went a ma­jor re-fleet­ing pro­gram, which has de­liv­ered pas­sen­ger-friendly and longer-range air­craft for the next decade. ( The pro­gram will be com­pleted soon with the in­tro­duc­tion of the last three of nine Fokker 70 planes.)

They will be equipped with new econ­omy and busi­ness class seats, and Wi-Fi stream­ing, op­er­at­ing on our main do­mes­tic routes and key re­gional ser­vices to the Pa­cific Is­land cap­i­tals and North Queens­land.

An­other im­por­tant achieve­ment un­der Si­mon’s watch has been the es­tab­lish­ment of Air Ni­ug­ini’s sub­sidiary airline, Link PNG, which has en­abled us to ex­pand air ser­vices to re­mote and smaller des­ti­na­tions across Pa­pua New Guinea.

Link PNG has won ac­cep­tance from pas­sen­gers and lo­cal lead­ers and com­mu­ni­ties, and is play­ing a vi­tal role in meet­ing the air travel needs of our dis­trict cen­tres and ru­ral pop­u­la­tion.

Af­ter a ca­reer with Air Ni­ug­ini that goes back to the foun­da­tion of the airline in 1973, Si­mon leaves with the grat­i­tude of the board, and our share­holder, the Na­tional Govern­ment, as well as our 2000 em­ploy­ees.

We wel­come Ta­hawar Dur­rani, who has served in se­nior man­age­ment po­si­tions with the airline for 13 years. He brings integrity, com­mit­ment and vast ex­pe­ri­ence in the airline in­dus­try to our top man­age­ment po­si­tion.

Mean­while, the airline’s new res­i­den­tial apart­ments, next to head of­fice in the Jack­sons In­ter­na­tional Air­port precinct, opened re­cently. The com­plex rep­re­sents a valu­able de­vel­op­ment for Air Ni­ug­ini as it will pro­vide ac­com­mo­da­tion for airline ex­ec­u­tives and con­tract staff, in­clud­ing pi­lots. It will also be avail­able to staff from provin­cial, re­gional and over­seas posts at­tend­ing training and con­fer­ences.

The new com­plex will cut the airline’s ac­com­mo­da­tion costs, and de­liver other ef­fi­cien­cies in ar­eas in­clud­ing trans­port and se­cu­rity.

Our next ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture project is a new hangar fa­cil­ity that will en­able heavy main­te­nance of air­craft to be car­ried out in coun­try for the first time. This will de­liver mas­sive cost sav­ings for the airline.

Ear­lier this year, 10 young Pa­pua New Guinean air­craft main­te­nance engi­neers re­turned af­ter a four-year training pro­gram at the Air New Zealand Avi­a­tion In­sti­tute in Christchurch. The pro­gram is an on­go­ing part­ner­ship with Air New Zealand and is en­hanc­ing our al­ready first­class training and skilling com­mit­ment to our na­tional em­ploy­ees.

Air Ni­ug­ini is not just proud of our lo­cal­i­sa­tion and training achieve­ments, we are at the fore­front in en­hanc­ing the role of women in our em­ploy­ment. Re­cently we wel­comed Bev­erly Pakii as our first fe­male jet air­craft cap­tain, fol­lowed by Sharon Tarah who has taken com­mand as a Dash-8 cap­tain.

Last year, our first fe­male gen­eral man­ager, Bonai Wala, was ap­pointed to head one of our key sub­sidiary com­pa­nies, Air Ni­ug­ini Prop­er­ties and Fa­cil­i­ties. In to­tal we have 52 women in man­age­rial roles.

Be­fore I con­clude, I need to ex­plain the re­cent dis­rup­tion to some ser­vices, caused by a world­wide short­age of ex­pe­ri­enced pi­lots.

We pre­dicted the short­age and have al­ready stepped up training, but the loss of some pi­lots has ne­ces­si­tated a short-term re­duc­tion in some air ser­vices.

I can as­sure you, our val­ued pas­sen­gers, the restora­tion of full ser­vices is a pri­or­ity. I apol­o­gise for any in­con­ve­nience and thank you for sup­port­ing Air Ni­ug­ini.

En­joy your flight – and we look for­ward to wel­com­ing you again soon.

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