Air Niugini's Acting Chief Executive Officer Gary Seddon says the national airline strives to provide the best services it can to its customers despite the many challenges it is facing.
He shared these remarks at the Business Breakfast Meeting hosted by the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the 30th of August at the Gateway Hotel.
He briefed POMCCI members on the latest developments within Air Niugini, from the acquisition of new aircraft, staff training and recruitment, hurdles faced, and future plans for the state-owned enterprise.
"It is my privilege to stand before you to speak today. Air Niugini is 100 percent government-owned in the aviation industry with a rich history in the development of Papua New Guinea. Its 1740 employees genuinely wake up every morning to find ways to competently deliver service on a timely basis," said Mr. Seddon.
Some of the setbacks currently faced by the aviation industry as highlighted by Mr Seddon include rough and short runways that need maintenance for Kokopo, Mt. Hagen, Kimbe, and Kieta that hinder landing for aircraft; current fuel shortages that have caused an increase in fuel prices affecting the cost of service delivery, and limited planes operating on a tight and busy schedule with an increased population, as buying aircraft becomes expensive.
Air Niugini, with the assistance of the current government and board, has acquired a total of 13 aircraft (11 Airbus A220 narrow-body jets ) and two Boeing 787 Dreamliners (wide-body jets) at the cost of K2.55 billion. The Airbus A220 should join the Air Niugini fleet from 2025 onwards, he added.
This remarkable aircraft Airbus A 220-100 stands as the epitome of modern airliners in its category, specifically tailored for the 100 to 150-seat segment. It boasts an impressive range of up to 6,400 kilometers, Together with a spacious cabin, seats, and windows, passengers can enjoy a high level of comfort during the flight, he noted.
"The Airbus can operate both domestic and international routes with more capacity. It burns 27 percent less fuel than the current fleet for the same sectors, and has greater comfort and operating efficiency,” he said.
"We are moving from analog to digital. The Fokker jet aircraft have done their part for the last 25 years, and it’s time to replace them with a game-changer aircraft," said Mr. Seddon.
The acquisition was a significant event in the history of Air Niugini and acknowledged the government, the airline board, and everyone involved for their leadership and guidance.
Air Niugini has currently tabbed 50 of its staff for leadership training and 150 of its staff for customer care training, and is planning to celebrate its 50th anniversary by thanking its stakeholders and staff, Mr Seddon said.
"Air Niugini is looking forward into the future focusing on a world-class standard aviation company with positive company returns, making sure its clients enjoy a first-class experience," he said.