National airline, Air Niugini on Monday 26th July welcomed the arrival of its second Boeing 767-300ER aircraft to Port Moresby and Papua New Guinea.
The aircraft resplendent at Air Niugini is livery featuring a magnificent plumed bird of paradise arrived to a traditional wash down ceremony at the Jacksons International airport. A water cannon spray was unleashed by the Fire Trucks, saluting the arrival of the aircraft.
On arrival, the 767 was awash not only with water but also a spectacular light-show display of stars illuminating the aircraft against the night sky.
The arrival of the second B767-300ER aircraft now brings the total aircraft in ANG’s Boeing fleet to three including a Boeing 757 aircraft.
Prime Minister, Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare was at the airport to welcome the aircraft. Also present was his deputy Don Pomb Polye, Minister for State Enterprise, Finance & Treasury Arthur Somare, along with Air Niugini Chairman Sir James Tjoeng and Air Niugini CEO Wasantha Kumarasiri.
Air Niugini’s cameras caught the moment when the ribbon was cut – the ribbon itself looking very much like the new trademark livery on the side of Air Niugini’s aircraft.
The event was also witnessed by other ministers and members of parliament, Diplomatic Corp, heads of statutory bodies, representatives from corporate & business houses, industry partners and the media.
The Prime Minister in welcoming the aircraft said the arrival of an additional Boeing will vastly enhance Air Niugini’s flexibility and scheduling options on the international sections.
He also said it gives Air Niugini the opportunity to capitalize on the opportunities and developments arising from the multi-billion dollar LNG Project.
“ The LNG is by far the biggest mining project ever undertaken in Papua New Guinea with the labor force being drawn from through out the world. There will be increase movements of people and cargo during the various stages of the project and with an additional aircraft on the international sector, Air Niugini is in a better position to handle these movements.” Sir Michael added.
Air Niugini Chief Executive Officer, Mr Wasantha Kumarasiri re-emphasized that the additional B767 aircraft will provide operational flexibility for both passenger and cargo movements on the international sectors.
“ The extra capacity and frequencies would ensure flexible travel options for our valued customers. It also places Air Niugini in a better position to take advantage of the current resource development that’s taking place in the country.”
Mr Kumarasiri also highlighted some key achievements in his four year reign. The most notable included the increase in the number of aircraft from eleven to twenty aircraft before the end of this year and also Air Niugini remaining profitable without increasing airfares since 2003.
Like the other two aircraft that arrived earlier, the B767-300ER arrived in new Air Niugini livery. The notable changes included a magnificent plumed bird of paradise on the tail wing of the aircraft representing a Bird of Paradise in flight and also a swirl of gold and red on the fuselage of the aircraft.
The Boeing 767’s cabin offers 46 business and 148 economy class seats with greater pitch in both cabins which means more leg room for the passengers.
All Boeing aircraft provide services on Air Niugini’s international routes. Air Niugini currently operates to ten international destinations including the Australian ports of Cairns, Brisbane and Sydney, Honiara in Solomon Islands, Nadi-Fiji, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Manila-Philippines, Narita in Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong.
The Prime Minister commended IPBC for providing guidance and leadership to the Air Niugini. He acknowledged Air Niugini Board and Management for the foresight and aptitude in ensuring the Shareholder’s expectations are implemented.
He also said the continuing growth and success of Air Niugini lies also with the rest of the ongoing support and cooperation from the Treasury Department, Labor Department, PNG Civil Aviation Authority, Customs and Industry partners and Air Niugini Board and Management and its loyal staff.