National airline, Air Niugini today (Wed 21st July 2010) welcomed the arrival of its first brand new Q400 Next Generation aircraft to Port Moresby and Papua New Guinea.
The aircraft under the registration P2-PXU, resplendent in Air Niugini’s new livery featuring a magnificent plumed bird of paradise arrived to a traditional wash down ceremony as it taxied into Jacksons airport. A water cannon spray arch was unleashed by the Fire Trucks, saluting the arrival of the aircraft.
On arrival to welcome the new aircraft was Public Enterprise Minister, Hon. Arthur Somare, Air Niugini Board & Management, representatives from corporate and business houses, diplomatic Corp, industry partners and the media.
Minister Somare in his welcome address said the arrival of the Q400 NextGen aircraft marks a new era in Air Niugini’s operations, adding that it will further enhance and boost the airline’s domestic operations.
The Q400 NextGen is the first of the two aircraft ordered by Air Niugini from Bombardier. It is also the first of its aircraft type to be operating in Papua New Guinea under the P2 registration. Both aircraft were funded by PNG Sustainable Development Program.
He said “This begins a new era at Air Niugini with one of the world’s most advanced turboprop aircraft that will meet Air Niugini’s requirements for many years to come. We are pleased with Q400 aircraft’s hot and high capabilities as well as its ability to operate from the shorter runways on our routes.”
He said as a commercial entity, Air Niugini is also keen to capitalize on the potential business opportunities and developments arising from the multi-billion dollar LNG project.
“ There will be increased number of people and cargo movements during the various stages of the project and having additional aircraft ensures that Air Niugini is in a better position to handle such movements.” Minister Somare said.
The Q400 NextGen is a brand new aircraft specifically configured to suit Air Niugini’s requirement. The 74 seat capacity aircraft has the ability to operate from shorter runways and delivers the quietest and most vibration free passenger cabin of any propeller driven aircraft.
The Q400 Next Generation aircraft features an enhanced cabin environment with the introduction of LED lighting, new ceiling panels, dished window sidewalls and larger overhead luggage bins. These features combined with the Active Noise and Vibration Suppression (ANVS) system provide an excellent cabin experience for passengers.”
It also has two class cabin and a hot galley, allowing for hot meals to be served on board.. Apart from that, the Q400 NextGen aircraft is fast with the speed that’s close to that of a jet aircraft and is fuel efficient with low emissions.
The addition of Q400 gives Air Niugini the opportunity to reassess some of its jet routes.
The Q400 NextGen aircraft follows in the footsteps of a long line of robust and reliable de Havilland and Bombardier turboprops that have served Air Niugini very well over the years.
The second Q400 NextGen aircraft is expected to arrive in September this year. Air Niugini is also expecting its second Boeing 767 aircraft next month. This will bring the total aircraft in ANG’s fleet to 20 aircraft before the end of the year.
Air Niugini Chief Executive Officer, Mr Wasantha Kumarasiri said the airline is proud of its achievement, comparing to only 11 aircraft four years ago.
He said “ With the additional aircraft in the fleet, we are confident; this will provide operational flexibility for both our cargo and passenger movements. The extra capacity and frequencies would ensure flexible travel options for valued customers. It also places Air Niugini in a better position to take advantage of the resource development that’s currently taking place in the country, especially the multi-billion dollar LNG project.”
The Q400 NextGen aircraft have been manufactured by Bombardier, a world leading manufacturer of innovative transport solutions from commercial aircraft and business jets to rail transportation equipment, systems and services. Bombardier’s headquarter is based in Toronto, Canada.
Both Minister Somare and Mr Kumarasiri thanked everyone involved in ensuring the successful acquisition of the aircraft including the PNG Sustainable Development Program, Department of Transport, PNG Civil Aviation Authority, Internal Revenue Commission, ICCC, the board, management and the Q400 project team at Air Niugini.