Air Niugini set to service overseas airlines
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.