Air Niugini Considers Major Fleet Replacement

Port Moresby – Papua New Guinea’s national carrier, Air Niugini plans to start replacing its two Boeing 767 widebody aircrafts, its fleet of Boeing 737s and Fokker regional jets next year.

Air Niugini Chief Executive Officer, Bruce Alabaster, has noted his excitement to get the replacement aircrafts, whilst in attendence at the 2022 Papua New Guinea Investment Conference in Brisbane earlier this week, as reported by Post Courier.

“We are excited to get the replacement of our aircrafts and we are doing much better than during the COVID-Period so we are looking forward to an exciting next five years”.

Air Niugini delayed the delivery of four B737-8 MAX since late 2020 until at least 2024, and the delay would give the airline more time to complete a broader review of its fleet plans, including a replacement for its smaller Fokker jets.

Air Niugini Replaces Fleet
Air Niugini set to undergo a major overhaul © Air Niugini

Ageing Fleets

Air Niugini currently has 22 aircrafts in service, including the two Boeing 767-300. The P2-PXV and P2-PXW are leased from Icelandair and Abu Dhabi’s Presidential Flight respectively, and are over 30 years old.

The airline also operates one (1) Boeing 737-800, five (5) Fokker 70s, seven (6) Fokker 100s and eight (8) De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Dash 8 turboprops.

The average age of the total fleet has exceeded 24 years with Air Niugini now aiming to reduce costs, improve on time performance, reliability, lower operating cost base and enable lower airfares by looking into fleet modernisation.

Air Niugini looks at upgrading
Air Niugini looks at upgrading to capture more market share © Javier Blancas

Modernisation Plan

Alabaster plans to modernise the fleet as the airline continues with its recovery from the pandemic.

“For domestic operations in the country, the airline’s operations is back to normal and for internationally they are operating in all the ports with flights resumption to Honiara once a week, five times a week to Singapore, Hong Kong and Cairns, daily to Brisbane and once a week to Sydney.”

Largest Fokker Operator in the World

Air Niugini uses the Fokker 70 and Fokker 100 regional jets for domestic and short-haul international flights to places such as Cairns in Australia, Port Villa in Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands capital Honiara.

Fokker 100
Air Niugini is one of the largest operators of Fokker aircraft in the world © Nathan Long

Air Niugini is one of the largest operators of Fokker aircraft in the world. Possible replacements for the Fokker 70 and Fokker 100 regional jets would be Embraer regional jets or Airbus A220s. Meanwhile, suitable replacements for the 737 would be the new 737 MAX or Airbus A320neo, and possible replacements for the 767-300 would be Airbus A330neos or Boeing 787s.

‘Destinations’ – A loyalty program

Air Niugini took to the skies in 1973, taking over Papua New Guinea’s established domestic routes and opening up previously inaccessible areas to locals and tourists.

A growing number of passengers began to use the service and new local destinations were rapidly added.

After more than 32 years of operation, Air Niugini still plays a crucial role in Papua New Guinea’s economy and basic transport needs. With no road to link the capital Port Moresby to other towns, the airline provides a vital service to the local communities and the tourist industry.

Air Niugini Boeing 767-300
Air Niugini still plays a crucial role in Papua New Guinea’s economy and basic transport needs © Yang Qize

Today, Air Niugini operates a domestic network from Port Moresby and Lae, as well as international services in Asia, Oceania, and Australia.

As of July 5, 2022, travellers to Australia are no longer required to complete the Australia Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD), nor will they be required to produce Covid-19 Proof of Vaccination at check-in.

However, Air Niugini will continue to operate in a safe and compliant manner, adhering to advice from the PNG Government as per the pandemic Measures issued to mitigate the risks in the spread against Coronavirus (COVID-19).

On August 11, Air Niugini  renewed its ‘Destinations Loyalty Program’ partnership with Kumul Consumer Goods (KCG) Limited for another year. KCG first came on board as a partner with Destinations in 2020. The renewal of this partnership now brings the total Destinations corporate partners to 10.

Air Niugini Dash 8
Air Niugini operates a domestic network from Port Moresby and Lae, as well as international services in Asia, Oceania, and Australia © Morris Biondi

Having partnerships with a wide range of organisations allow Destinations members more options to either earn or redeem points across a variety of consumer goods in addition to airline tickets. Members must present their Destinations membership cards at the time of purchase in order to redeem points on specific KCG products.

Air Niugini’s Destinations Loyalty Program currently has over 123,000 active members since it was launched in August 2009.

What do you think of Air Niugini’s plans for its fleet? Let us know in the comments below.

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Dzulkeffly Jaafar
Dzulkeffly Jaafar
Photojournalist - Dzulkeffly Jaafar is a freelance writer based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia working on publishing his own blog "Bisik Hujan". The founder of deezzullens la photographie loves aviation, railways, photography, travelling and hanging out with his family

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