Air Ni­ug­ini set to ser­vice overseas air­lines

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Air Ni­ug­ini plans to be­come a key player in global air­line ser­vic­ing with a new main­te­nance re­pair fa­cil­ity. The move will sig­nif­i­cantly con­trib­ute to the Pa­pua New Guinea econ­omy.

The air­line’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, Alan Milne, who has an en­gi­neer­ing back­ground, is driv­ing the ini­tia­tive. He has iden­ti­fied huge po­ten­tial in the tal­ent within Air Ni­ug­ini’s en­gi­neer­ing and main­te­nance teams.

PNG’s ge­o­graphic lo­ca­tion, tal­ent and in­fra­struc­ture make it a log­i­cal op­tion for air­line ser­vic­ing for op­er­a­tors in Aus­tralia, Asia and the Pa­cific Is­lands.

He says PNG’s ge­o­graphic lo­ca­tion, tal­ent and in­fra­struc­ture make it a log­i­cal op­tion for air­line ser­vic­ing for op­er­a­tors in Aus­tralia, Asia and the Pa­cific Is­lands.

“We have some of the best tal­ent in the en­gi­neer­ing space that I’ve seen in my 40 years in the avi­a­tion in­dus­try,” he says.

“But be­yond that, fi­nan­cially it makes sense to con­sider the Air Ni­ug­ini MRO (main­te­nance re­pair over­haul fa­cil­ity) when air­line op­er­a­tors are spend­ing mil­lions of dol­lars to have their air­craft ser­viced as far away as Europe.”

The MRO has al­ready com­pleted its first full ser­vice, a Dash 8 be­long­ing to Solomon Air­lines. The ser­vice was com­pleted ahead of sched­ule.

The ser­vice cen­tre will spe­cialise in heavy main­te­nance checks – known as C checks – which are a manda­tory ma­jor in­spec­tion of all air­craft after a cer­tain pe­riod of time and flight hours. Typ­i­cally these are car­ried out ev­ery two to three years. Heavy main­te­nance checks can take up to five months to com­plete, with tech­ni­cians in­spect­ing all struc­ture and com­po­nents of the air­craft.

Air Ni­ug­ini’s MRO is based at Jack­sons Air­port in Port Moresby and will spe­cialise in a range of air­craft, in­clud­ing the Dash 8 and Fokker. Prior to the Air Ni­ug­ini fa­cil­ity open­ing for ex­ter­nal air­lines, car­ri­ers had to fly their air­craft to other ser­vice hubs in Asia and Europe.

Milne says the new cen­tre will con­trib­ute to the broader PNG econ­omy with dozens of em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“This is a win-win-win sce­nario. For Air Ni­ug­ini, for PNG and for the air­lines who will ben­e­fit from this new com­pet­i­tive MRO.”

Milne has been the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of

Air Ni­ug­ini for 12 months. Prior to this role, he was with Qan­tas for 36 years in var­i­ous se­nior roles in­clud­ing head of en­gi­neer­ing for Qan­tas In­ter­na­tional. ■

In check … Air Ni­ug­ini’s en­gi­neer­ing crew with the Solomon Air­line’s Dash 8.

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