A Message From Alan Milne – Managing Director Air Niugini
March 17, 2020
Whilst PNG has fortunately not had any reported cases of coronavirus (COVID-19), as a valued and loyal customer, it is timely to personally update you on the evolving situation, and the precautionary measures Air Niugini is taking to protect your well-being whenever you travel with us.
The health and safety of the people of PNG, our passengers and crew are always our absolute priority. Air Niugini has always been proud of the steps we take every day to ensure our processes are world’s best in protecting the health of our passengers and staff. While there are no reported cases of COVID-19 in PNG, we are already taking a number of additional steps to enhance your protection on our flights, and to reduce any risk of COVID-19 being spread by travellers. We note that the World Health Organisation has advised that there is extremely low risk of cross-transmission between passengers and crew, and that to date there has been no confirmed inflight transmission of COVID-19 anywhere in the world.
To date Air Niugini is already;
- Ensuring our aircraft are sprayed with hospital type disinfectant every night they are at a maintenance base, including Port Moresby.
- Ensuring all our offices where we interact with you, our customers, such as sales outlets, are sprayed with hospital type disinfectant every night
- Reducing and cancelling flights voluntarily for those locations where the infection rates were previously increasing rapidly such as previously through Asia, and we will continue to do so to all locations showing signs of significant spread.
- Replacing head rest covers every time an aircraft transits through Port Moresby
- Removing in-flight magazines from all our aircraft, to reduce any risk of cross-transmission
- Ensuring in-flight blankets are cleaned using industrial laundry practises, whenever their sealed container has been opened, and replacing earpiece covers on all distributed headsets after every flight
- Ensuring at all international departure airports with increased levels of infection that enhanced screening processes are in place and being implemented to reduce any chance we uplift any passengers to PNG who are showing any symptoms of COVID-19
- Ensuring all headsets, blankets and headrests are removed off all seats, prior to the aircraft cleaning
- Providing all our staff who are interacting with the public, including our cabin crew and check-in staff, with personal protective equipment appropriate to the risk level for their role and location.
Our senior leaders are meeting regularly to discuss our ongoing response and ensure we have the latest information from health authorities. We stand ready to support passengers who need to change their travel due to COVID-19, and we’re waiving change fees for eligible guests.
I do acknowledge that this is a rapidly evolving situation, and Air Niugini already has well developed plans ready to roll-out should there be any reported cases of COVID-19 in PNG. Whilst we acknowledge some of these may mean your travel experience seems different from normal, these would be implemented to minimise any chances of domestic transmission of COVID-19 within PNG, and to ensure your and our staff’s safety on all our domestic flights.
As noted, to date, there has been no confirmed inflight transmission of COVID-19 anywhere in the world, but it’s still important that you are aware that we maintain the highest hygiene and cleaning practices on our aircraft and on the ground. We’re closely following all advice received from WHO, PNG and other worldwide medical authorities, regarding precautions that are needed to minimise risks concerned with COVID-19. We’re ensuring our crew maintain high hygiene standards in the cabin, including practicing proper hygiene procedures.
All our flights are equipped with hand sanitiser and face masks, and if any guest presents as unwell or with flu-like symptoms on one of our flights, they’ll be provided with a face mask and hand sanitiser, and where possible, moved away from other passengers.
We uphold the highest standards when it comes to cleaning our aircraft and have stringent processes in place. Our aircraft are cleaned every night they are at a maintenance base, including Port Moresby, and on every transit through Port Moresby, which includes the use of an antibacterial, antimicrobial cleaning product that reduces the risk of harmful viruses, moulds, fungus, algae and any other possible harmful pathogenic bacteria.
Our Boeing aircraft are also fitted with High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters, which perform similarly to those used to keep the air clean in hospital operating rooms. This means the air quality on the aircraft is essentially sterile and particle-free.
We have also updated our booking policy for our passengers with international bookings that wish to change their travel due to COVID-19. If you need to make a change to your booking, there are alternative options available to you and I request you contact your travel agent, or the Air Niugini call centre to discuss these.
We are aware of rumours out there in regard to change of travel restrictions around the world and other factors affecting travel. Please continue to visit Air Niugini’s Facebook page to ensure you have the correct and most up to date travel updates.
I thank you for your long support of Air Niugini and your trust that we are doing everything during this challenging time to ensure the best interests of the people of PNG, as well as your and our staff’s well-being is our top priority.
Managing Director, Air Niugini