PNG AIR CELEBRATES 35 YEARS
by Paul Oeka - June 03, 2022
Photo: PNG Air 35th Anniversary Launching
One of Papua New Guinea’s Leading Airlines PNG Air has marked and is celebrating 2022 as its 35th anniversary year. PNG Air has been taking Papua New Guinea and Papua New Guineans to their destinations since its initial beginnings as Milne Bay Airlines (MBA) right through to the airlines transition to PNG Air for 35 years.
The Airline’s history dates back to the late 80’s in the beautiful Island Province of Milne bay. The company was established and started operations on June 30th 1987 as Milne Bay Airlines (MBA) by founder Sir John Wild who was a naturalized citizen of Papua New Guinea and an architect. Sir John Wild was also an avid and passionate aviator who owned an Amphibian aircraft which he was asked to provide a service to fly to and from the remotest and far-fetched parts of the islands in the Milne Bay province.
Now as the Airline Company looks ahead and celebrates 35 years of service to Papua New Guineans it also reflects on the tale of how a humble airline company which started off with an amphibious aircraft in Milne Bay Province became a fully-fledged national carrier flying over 500,000 passengers a year.
It’s a story of innovation – 35 years ago PNG Air began its Journey when some of their first flights flew around the scattered Islands of Milne Bay under the Milne bay Airlines (MBA) Brand to operating as one of PNG's leading Airline carrier today.
In the years that followed after MBA's establishment the airline underwent its first major rebrand from Milne Bay Airlines to Milne Bay Airlines of PNG to focus on new opportunities which also included chartered flights for the Country's resource sector.
In 2001 the Airline was renamed to Airlines PNG boasting a fleet of 26 Aircrafts signifying a new era for the company's future as it grew to be regarded as the people's airline, providing affordable and value airfares. Within that period PNG Air also transitioned into a public company when entering the Port Moresby stock exchange. Since then it has been governed by seasoned and experienced Board of Directors.
Eventually after 14 years as a fully-fledged commuter Airline the company signed a contract to acquire seven ATR 72-600 series aircrafts which gave way to the rebranding and launch of the company to PNG Air on November 5th 2015.
As PNG Air embarks on the beginning of its next endeavors in conjunction with the anniversary the company's Chief Commercial Officer Mr. Simon C Pitt said, “To commemorate this Milestone we've commissioned a special 35th anniversary Logo that will set the benchmark for all the activities we plan to do this year. The Logo is a representation of all the distinct elements of our livery, represented through the bird of Paradise".
Over the past three and a half decades, PNG Air has grown from a small airline company to one that has thrust its way out across the whole of Papua New Guinea. Throughout it all, PNG Air’s enduring purpose has been to connect customers to the people, places, and experiences they love the most.
PNG Business News - April 29, 2021
Link PNG Reapplying to Buy Minority Stake in PNG Air
Link PNG and PNG Air have reported that they have reapplied to the ICCC for Link PNG to buy a minority stake in PNG Air. PNG Air and Link PNG also agree that ICCC acceptance would help Papua New Guineans and visitors. The planned joint venture between Link PNG and MRDC is focused on PNG Air being an independent airline, setting its own airfares and selling its own tickets separately from Air Niugini, according to Link PNG chairman Sir Kostas Constantinou and PNG Air chairman Augustine Mano. In a joint statement, both chairmen emphasized the importance of PNG continuing to have two separate carriers, PNG Air and Air Niugini, as well as a competitive domestic market. They mentioned that COVID-19 has lasted much longer than anyone predicted and is continuing to have a negative impact on both airlines; thus, while it is vital that we continue to work independently on a commercial basis, it is also critical that the airlines take advantage of this ability to reduce costs. “World aviation has been badly damaged by COVID-19, including in our region where the Fijian government has had to issue loan guarantees for K788 million to support Fiji Airways, whilst elsewhere governments have had to pay billions of Kina to keep their airlines alive. “We believe this move if approved, will ensure PNG’s airline industry is profitable, sustainable and competitive without having to rely on Government support. “Both airlines are ultimately owned by the people of PNG, either the taxpayer, contributors to superannuation or as a landowner so it is critical both airlines are viable.” The plan is focused on Link PNG maintaining a minority share status and all commercial roles being distinct and autonomous, according to the chairmen. the selling of all PNG Air airline tickets, including all pricing and yield control, as well as all personnel involved in these functions; PNG Air's publicity, which includes existing sales offices as well as a separate website; PNG Air's board and management will be independent; all cabin crew, sales personnel, and check-in staff will wear PNG Air uniforms; and all of PNG Air's aircraft will be painted in PNG Air livery. Back office activities that can be handled more effectively between the two carriers, as well as more efficient fleet use, will be the main integration advantages. “We believe there is a compelling case for creating a stronger independent PNG Air, across a wider network, as well as ensuring job security,” they stated. “We will also ensure the savings created will be passed back onto our customers through more affordable airfares; with the lower prices resulting from economies of scale and through the considerable cost efficiencies that are available.” The idea, according to Sir Kostas and Mano, would favour airline passengers as well as ensure job protection for both airlines and the continuation of the PNG Air brand in our skies. They also stated that “With the savings, we will generate, we will be able to pass this back onto our customers through more affordable airfares.” Before the joint venture can be finalized, both Link PNG and PNG Air will need both regulatory and shareholder approvals, including from ICCC.
PNG Business News - May 03, 2021
Mano: PNG Air Employees will be Kept
According to the company's board member, all PNG Air employees will be retained after the acquisition by Link PNG. The key goal of the acquisition, according to PNG Air chairman Augustine Mano, is to achieve a viable airline industry in order to secure PNG Air's future, creditors, and personnel said a letter from the board to management and staff of PNG Air. He said the board had reviewed and considered all practicable alternatives for reforming the company to resolve the continuing effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on domestic and foreign travel when it decided to endorse the 40 per cent shareholding to Link PNG. He stated that this agreement needs ICCC approval and that an application to that effect has been filed, with shareholder approval expected shortly. Mr Mano stated that the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in January 2021, as well as the recommendations submitted and staff questions, have all been resolved. He also said that all employees would be kept. PNG Air will continue to operate as a standalone carrier with its own board of directors and management. This is done while maintaining the identity, with the exception of areas where resource maximisation is needed to allow shareholder returns. He promised that rivalry with Air Niugini will continue until cost-cutting measures are identified and introduced. He went on to say that the benefits from this joint venture would help all core stakeholders, including employees and the general public, who will benefit from lower airfares.
PNG Business News - July 15, 2021
Code-Sharing Agreement Between Link PNG and PNG Air Should Meet Criteria
According to Independent Consumer and Competition Commission chief executive officer Paulus Ain, the proposed code-sharing agreement between Link PNG Ltd and PNG Air should only be approved if a number of criterias are met. The criteria, he added, should be targeted at modifying the planned code-share agreement to reduce the likelihood of anti-competitive consequences and ensuring that the two airlines could compete in the long run. Link PNG filed an application for permission under section 70 of the ICC Act 2002 on April 9. For a period of five years, the proposal requested a joint operating agreement (JOA) with PNG Air for code-sharing. According to Link PNG, the proposed JOA would allow the two airlines to coordinate flight schedules, fleet allocation, operational and maintenance services, and charter airline operations. The ICCC, according to Ain, recognized important markets for domestic scheduled and regular passenger transport, air freight, and air charter services. “The ICCC has considered that the proposed JOA should not form part of the authorisation because it constitutes an unjustifiable intrusion by Link PNG into the management of PNG Air. “The former would gain decision-making control over key aspects of the strategy, operations and, consequently, the financial structure of the latter and, therefore, would be likely to substantially lessen competition and result in greater detriment than benefit to the public.” He added Link PNG's bid to buy 40% of Nasfund's stake in PNG Air is presently being reviewed. Reference: The National (9 July 2021). “Proposal should be authorised with conditions: Ain”.
Place your Ad Here!
PNG Business News - June 24, 2022
Creating decent income-earning opportunities for rural communities in Papua New Guinea under road maintenance programme
EU Funded UN Joint STREIT PNG Programme, as part of its mission to support efforts towards reducing rural poverty, is engaging local communities with a focus on struggling single parents as a support workforcefor maintenance of 18 selected farm-to-market roads in the Sepik region. Led by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the creation of these employment opportunities in remote communities where there are limited income-generating activities because of lack of accessible roads to markets is a relief to many disadvantaged households. This month the ILO team visited some of these beneficiaries who are employed in the Road Maintenance Groups (RMGs) working on a 17.7km-long Walkasa Mai-Wanwan road and an 8km-long Yiminum-Wilbowe road in the Nuku District of Sandaun Province. For the beneficiaries, this is a lifetime opportunity for a regular and steady income to support their and their families' everyday needs, and one important concern for the struggling families is paying for their siblings' and kids' school fees and associate costs. Among the struggling families are some widows like Marathia, aged 59, from Yiminum Village, who works on the Yiminum-Wilbowe road. "My husband died, and we were really struggling because our families have their own problems to take care of. Now, I'm very happy with this job which I joined last year. It helps with school fees for my children," said Marathia. Marathia was left with five children to support, including one who is attending final year studies at a vocational training nearby. With the income as an RMG, she was able to pay PGK 500 school fee last year and early this year she paid PGK 250. She said the community is also happy to see her contribution in a job they usually see as for men only. For youths like Jena Suwa this employment opens a new window to their life. She was not able to complete her studies after year 10 in 2018. "I'm very happy today because I was doing nothing in the house. I will now save some money to prepare to go back to school to become a nurse," said Jena. Sony Apo is another youth who completed Grade 8 in 2015 and is looking forward to some money to upgrade. He dreams of becoming a carpenter to continue the legacy of his late 'big daddy'. "Big daddy was the only skilled man we had in the family, and now I'm ready to become a carpenter as well," he said. The main works that encompass the road routine maintenance aspect to be undertaken by the RMGs include pothole patching, vegetation clearing, drainage and general cleaning along the road in preparation for engagement of a contractor to perform specific maintenance on these farm-to-market access and feeder roads. Safety gears and road maintenance tools like boots, gloves, vests, safety helmets, spades, hoes, wheelbarrows were also among the tools and equipment provided and distributed by the EU-STREIT PNG Programme among the RMGs' members. During the visits, the Programme's Community Facilitator, Rachel Bowie also shared with the RMGs to demonstrate commitment in their work to take ownership in the routine maintenance of these roads because it will serve them, their families and their fellow community members. The mission also conducted a drone survey of a 14km-long Nanaha-Tau LLG access road in the Ambunti-Drekikier District, East Sepik Province. In consultation with Ward Members, locals, including youths and women, were also recruited to form RMGs to conduct routine maintenance for this road that will also service Drekikier Secondary. Under the Programme selection criteria, one RMG comprises six members that must have at least two females. The group must also have representation from youths, single parents whose partners have died or have deserted them and traditional owners of land the road passes through. The Programme, in partnership with MiBank, a local financial institution, is implementing cashless transactions and banking for rural farmers by opening bank accounts for these RMGs, and their payment is deposited directly at the end of every month. This arrangement encourages rural farmers to save and grow their earnings, which can be used to access small loan benefits. Under this rural agriculture development programme, 18 rural roads in the Sepik region totalling close to 300 km in length are being maintained or upgraded with the help of RMGs to support the market access initiative implemented by the EU-STREIT PNG Programme for rural and farming communities to boost agriculture production and agribusiness activities pertaining to three targeted cocoa, vanilla and fisheries agri-food value chains for an improved income and cash flow for the rural communities. The roads will also support other agricultural, business, social and community activities and facilities like schools, aid posts and health centres that are in dire need of better accessible roads. The EU-STREIT PNG Programme, being implemented as a UN Joint Programme (FAO as the leading agency, and ILO, ITU, UNCDF and UNDP as partners), is the largest grant-funded Programme of the European Union in the country and the Pacific region. The Programme aims to help improve the lives of the people from East Sepik and Sandaun provinces, by focusing on increasing sustainable and inclusive economic development of rural areas through improved economic returns and opportunities from cocoa, vanilla and fishery value chains while strengthening and improving the efficiency of value chain enablers, including the business environment, and supporting sustainable, climate-proof transport and energy infrastructure development.
PNG Business News - June 24, 2022
Santos welcomes new apprentices in higher-level program
Photo: Leon Buskens, Santos Country Chair PNG meeting the 25 new apprentices in Port Moresby before their departure to the Institut Teknologi Petroleum Petronas (INSTEP) in Malaysia. Joining Mr Buskens and the apprentices are members of the Santos Training and People & Culture Teams. Santos is helping to equip Papua New Guinea’s next generation of oil and gas technicians with international qualifications. Ten females are among 25 novices who have joined the Santos 2022 Apprenticeship Program following a rigorous selection process which will see them train at the Institut Teknologi Petroleum Petronas (INSTEP) in Malaysia – 900 applications were received for the 2022 Program. Upon completion of the technician training at INSTEP, the apprentices will earn a Pearson Business Education Technology Council Level 2 and Level 3 UK qualification. Santos Country Chair for PNG, Leon Buskens when welcoming the apprentices, said: “You have joined at an exciting time following the merger between Oil Search and Santos. As the inaugural batch under the merged entity, there are greater opportunities for you to advance in all aspects of your career both in PNG and abroad. I encourage you to do your best and importantly, maintain a positive attitude and uphold your values - this is what will take you far on this journey. “This is the beginning, but you should be proud of yourselves as we are of you for making it this far. Congratulations and welcome to Santos.” Joining Mr Buskens to address the new cohort were pioneering trainees Cornelius Soagai, Senior Government Affairs Manager and Lydia Warubi, Deputy Occupational Health & Safety Manager. Mr Soagai went on to become the first national Production Manager in the Operations and Maintenance Department while Ms Warubi made waves as the first national female process technician to work at the Central Processing Facility. Both leaders encouraged the apprentices to maximize on the career development opportunities available to them at Santos. Among the cohort was Judy Sasa who completed the Company’s pre-apprentice program at the Kumul Petroleum Academy (KPA) in 2020. Judy finished at the top of her class and attained an honourable achievement award. A grateful Judy thanked Santos for a further opportunity to broaden her knowledge in oil and gas production. “My dream is coming true as I have always wanted to work in this industry,” Ms Sasa said. The 25 apprentices along with the Santos training team departed PNG for Malaysia last weekend. Two permanent employees were also part of the travelling party to INSTEP where they will train to become dual Electrical & Instrumentation tradesmen. Article courtesy of Santos
PNG Business News - June 23, 2022
PM Marape says East Sepik can become ‘economic powerhouse’ of PNG
Photo: PM Marape addressing the crowd in Maprik Prime Minister Hon. James Marape says East Sepik has the potential to become the “economic powerhouse” of Papua New Guinea. He said in Maprik recently (June 22 2022) that because of this potential, and in memory of founding Prime Minister the late Sir Michael Somare, the next Government would be formed in East Sepik. Present with the Prime Minister were East Sepik Governor Hon. Allan Bird (National Alliance), Angoram MP Hon. Salio Waipo (National Alliance), Maprik MP and Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Hon. John Simon (Pangu) and Pangu candidate for Wosera-Gawi Ronald Asik. Sir Michael was instrumental in the formation of both Pangu and National Alliance “East Sepik has the potential to become the ‘economic powerhouse’ province of our country,” PM Marape said. “This is why I will bring Government formation to here: Firstly, in memory of Sir Michael, and secondly, in memory of Sir Pita Lus. “This will be the 11th Parliament, and the first Parliament without Sir Michael and Sir Pita being alive. “This will be symbolic that the nation is now being passed on to the next generation.” PM Marape said formation of the new Government in East Sepik would also inspire the new generation of leaders to hold on to the lofty ideals of the founding fathers like Sir Michael and Sir Pita. He said his Government, over the last three years, had passed major laws to fight corruption and promised the people of Papua New Guinea that some prominent leaders would be prosecuted after the elections. These include the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), Whistle Blowers’ Act and Undisclosed Wealth Act. “What would be the point of Allan Bird and I growing the economy of the country when corruption is still prevalent?” PM Marape said. “We have managed to stifle corruption in the big way with passage of the three bills during the last term of Parliament. “Over the last three years, we have spent over K56 billion, which has grown the economy by K30 billion.” PM Marape said East Sepik’s economic powerhouse potential was in agriculture, through the vast Sepik Plains, and challenged the province to start growing rice on a large scale to reduce the huge K900 million rice import bill. “Over the next few years, and into the future, we want to grow our own rice for domestic consumption as well as export to Phillipines, Indonesia and the rest if the region,” he said. “Sir Michael, before his passing, said he had helped groom me up and asked me not to forget East Sepik into the future. “The way to achieve this is through economic independence. “I want every Papua New Guinean to have money in their pockets: Grow rice, grow cocoa, grow vanilla, look after cattle, bring in tourists, stop consumption of home brew, stop marijuana and other bad habits. “We are ready to take the country to the next level. “I want East Sepik to be an economic powerhouse no longer dependent on Waigani. “This is why I ask the people of East Sepik to send Allan Bird, John Simon, Salio Waipo and my Wosera-Gawi candidate Ronald Asik, Ambunti-Dreikikier candidate Richard Rafa and Wewak candidate Jim Simitab to Parliament. “ Article courtesy of PM JAMES MARAPE News Page