Pom set to be major aircraft maintenance hub
Port Moresby is ideally located to look after some of the region’s Dash 8 aircraft and jets, including some of the jets that operate in Australia.
This is according to Air Niugini managing director Mr Alan Miln when speaking to the press announcing the arrival of the airline’s very first customer in Solomon Airline’s Dash 8 aircraft for its first heavy maintenance check with Air Niugini.
Milne said that while Australia is the preferred destination in the region’s airlines, there have not been many facilities in Australia currently undertaking major heavy maintenance for the common aircraft that commute the region.
“So we see Air Niugini perfectly positioned to start doing that maintenance.
“Whilst we have the current facilities here, we can do a fair amount, we see down into the future a new facility and an establishment of a really world class airline engineering facility, not just Air Niugini but for the people of PNG.
The ‘C’ Check is the major of three maintenance checks, beginning from the lesser ‘A’ and ‘B’.
Milne pointed out the major benefits for the airline are not only for its revenue, but also foreign currency coming into the country, with a standard ‘C’ Check of Dash 8 craft costing around K1.5 million to be done locally.
“First of all it is around K1.5 million per aeroplane to do that in-house now that is not an unsubstantial amount of money.
“And we are developing a career path for young PNG nationals who would like to learn how to be an aircraft engineer. That is the opportunity that we are providing.
He said discussions already are taking place with major global brands like Qantas and Alliance.
“I think Qantas has its network operating its Fokker fleet.
They are looking for heavy maintenance facilities and we are fronting up there as soon as we can.
He said a major target for the airline would be the Fokker fleet, which currently in the Pacific region operates a majority of the planes.
“So 80 per cent of the Fokker fleet lives in this region now, both in Australian and PNG.
“Unfortunately some of the operators in Australia have to send their aeroplanes to London to have their C-Checks done, so I see that we will move into Fokker maintenance very quickly to complete this C-Check.