Air Niugini Cargo has risen to the double-edged challenge of cost-effectively and time-efficiently moving large quantities of freight around Papua New Guinea with the introduction of two ATR Freighters.
The aircraft were introduced in October 2012 and are having a considerable impact on Air Niugini’s ability to provide cargo logistics solutions for business and the general public in Papua New Guinea.
The move towards ATR freighters has been evolutionary and closely linked with the growth of the economy in Papua New Guinea.
In the past the mode of cargo transport was confined to regular passenger transport (RPT) services, and then the airline chose to convert a Dash 8 passenger aircraft to a full-time cargo carrier. It became affectionately known as the ‘flying truck’.
However the introduction of two ATRs brings Air Niugini Cargo into a whole new league and with the establishment of new cargo hangar facilities, the Cargo division is set to become a powerful contributor to Air Niugini’s capacity and consequently the airline’s bottom-line profitability.
The ATR is a twin-turboprop, short-haul aircraft ideally suited for terrain such as Papua New Guinea. Built in France and Italy by ATR (Aerei da Trasporto Regionale or Avions de Transport Régional) the ATR42 has a payload capacity of 4500kg, while the ATR72 has a payload capacity of 7,500kg with the advantage of having a large cargo door. The two ATRs are operated by Farnair, a Swiss-based company that also provides the crew, while loading is done by Air Niugini-trained cargo personnel.
According to Nalin Rodrigo, Executive Manager, Air Niugini Cargo has had to keep pace with the rapid development of industry in Papua New Guinea.
“ATR freighters are a perfect business solution for Air Niugini’s cargo operations. This kind of aircraft is suited to our country and can reach remote and difficult locations, including mining sites. The ATRs have allowed us to become more time-critical, so now we find we are moving more perishables from frozen meat and produce right through to exam papers, as well as valuable and bulky items. We have become quicker and more responsive to the demands of the market”, Rodrigo said.
“We have currently been servicing ports such as Mt Hagen, Lae, Rabaul, Hoskins, Goroka, Kiunga, Tabubil and Wewak. Soon we expect to add Manus, Vanimo and Buka to the list”, he added.
For more information on Air Niugini Cargo visit www.airniugini.com.pg/cargo