A mes­sage from Air Niugini’s chair­man

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

8

Ashort­age of air­line pilots has cre­ated a chal­leng­ing time for the com­mer­cial air­line in­dus­try in our re­gion, and beyond. The rapid growth of air travel and ser­vices in the re­gion has re­sulted in com­pe­ti­tion for pilots at record lev­els.

Dur­ing the first quar­ter of 2018, Air Niugini ex­pe­ri­enced dis­rup­tion to do­mes­tic and re­gional ser­vices be­cause of the short­age.

We could not avoid the ini­tial im­pact, and we have apol­o­gised to our val­ued pas­sen­gers for de­lays to ser­vices, and can­cel­la­tions that were un­fore­seen and un­avoid­able.

But I am proud of what our man­age­ment team, and many staff, have done since to fix the sit­u­a­tion.

The re­sults be­came ev­i­dent in May with record on-time per­for­mance (OTP) lev­els across our do­mes­tic, re­gional and in­ter­na­tional ser­vices.

We have ad­justed sched­ules, and em­barked on an ur­gent re­cruit­ment and train­ing pro­gram, and the out­come, in a very short pe­riod, has been ex­cep­tional.

The av­er­age OTP for May was 91 per cent – the high­est in our his­tory – and higher than all air­lines in Australia and New Zealand and the Pa­cific re­gion. The chal­lenge now is to main­tain such an out­stand­ing achieve­ment – and it is a chal­lenge I be­lieve our team can de­liver.

Our Fokker 70 fleet is pro­vid­ing the best pos­si­ble ser­vice for our main­line do­mes­tic and re­gional pas­sen­gers.

The sub­sidiary air­line, Link PNG, con­tin­ues to pro­vide vi­tal air ser­vices to the more re­mote, dis­tant, and smaller com­mu­ni­ties across our na­tion. De­spite the pre­vail­ing eco­nomic dif­fi­cul­ties, the de­mand for the ser­vices pro­vided by Link PNG has con­tin­ued to grow.

Again, this re­sponse from the trav­el­ling pub­lic con­firms that Link PNG is meet­ing a vi­tal need, and is the only air­line pro­vid­ing com­pre­hen­sive ser­vices for our peo­ple, and busi­nesses, liv­ing and op­er­at­ing in re­mote and dis­tant com­mu­ni­ties.

To meet the pub­lic de­mand, an ad­di­tional Dash 8 has been com­mis­sioned, bring­ing the air­line’s Dash 8 fleet to eight.

As you, our readers, are no doubt aware, one of our high­est pri­or­i­ties has been the devel­op­ment of Jack­sons In­ter­na­tional Air­port in our na­tional cap­i­tal as a ma­jor hub for the re­gion – link­ing the Pa­cific Is­land coun­tries, and North Queens­land, with the rapidly grow­ing Asian economies and APEC mem­ber na­tions.

We are ex­plor­ing a range of new ser­vices, as well as up­grad­ing ex­ist­ing ser­vices, to max­imise the op­por­tu­ni­ties our mod­ern, pas­sen­ger-friendly in­ter­na­tional air­port is pro­vid­ing.

His­tory will be made in Septem­ber when we com­mence reg­u­lar twice­weekly air ser­vices to Shang­hai, China. This ser­vice will strengthen our vi­tal links with the world’s fastest-grow­ing econ­omy, and will lead into Pa­pua New Guinea host­ing the APEC Lead­ers’ Sum­mit in Novem­ber.

We are also care­fully de­vel­op­ing and vary­ing our air ser­vices in our im­me­di­ate re­gion.

Start­ing on Septem­ber 1, our twice-weekly Narita ser­vice will con­nect Chuuk in the Fed­er­ated States of Mi­crone­sia (FSM) in both di­rec­tions.

This will take ad­van­tage of the grow­ing in­ter­est in div­ing and other tourism and ad­ven­ture op­por­tu­ni­ties in FSM, a de­mand we have seen grow from Ja­panese and Aus­tralian trav­ellers, in par­tic­u­lar. It will now be eas­ier for trav­ellers to ex­pe­ri­ence the at­trac­tions of Ja­pan, FSM and PNG in the one trip.

Our next new des­ti­na­tion in the Pa­cific will be Ma­juro, the cap­i­tal of the Repub­lic of Mar­shall Is­lands – sched­uled to also start in Septem­ber.

We are proud of the con­tri­bu­tion Air Niugini makes to the devel­op­ment of tourism, and the pro­mo­tion of our rich and di­verse cul­ture.

We are of­fer­ing special packages for the fol­low­ing an­nual cul­tural events in July and Au­gust:

• The Mask Fes­ti­val in Kokopo, East New Bri­tain Province, July 11–14. A four-day ex­trav­a­ganza of cul­tural dances, rit­ual per­for­mances, story telling and ex­change with a huge va­ri­ety of arts and crafts.

• The Sepik Crocodile Fes­ti­val in We­wak, East Sepik Province, Au­gust 5–7. A special fes­ti­val cel­e­brat­ing PNG’s fa­mous tribal heart­lands and the sig­nif­i­cance of the revered crocodile.

Mean­while, Air Niugini has hosted the sec­ond Air Niugini Kokoda Cup match in Port Moresby be­tween the SP PNG Hunters and the Townsville Black­hawks (see story, page 10).

It is planned to have next year’s match in Townsville, which has a large PNG com­mu­nity. Stag­ing the match there will also give PNG-based fans the op­por­tu­nity to travel to Townsville for the week­end to cel­e­brate the Kokoda Cup chal­lenge.

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

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