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By Ruth Waram

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (February 26, 1998-Niuswire/Post- Courier)---Major petroleum company Chevron Niugini has cancelled all its business dealings with Air Niugini, senior airline officials confirmed Wednesday, the Post-Courier reports.

According to sources in the know, other mining and petroleum companies in the country may follow suit in order to keep their operations going on time and ensure the safety of their employees.

It is understood Chevron had gradually stopped using Air Niugini services and as that deteriorated, the company decided at the beginning of this month to stop using the national flag carrier altogether.

Air Niugini's sales manager Don Madigan confirmed yesterday that Chevron Niugini and Misima Mines had, "to an extent,'' stopped using Air Niugini.

"Any loss of business from the mining and petroleum companies is a major loss to us,'' Mr. Madigan told the Post-Courier.

"Our schedule at the moment is not suitable for their operations. They said they will have discussions with us once our schedules are back to normal.''

It is understood Chevron has instructed all its employees to use other approved airlines or charters for both domestic and international travel.

The mining companies operate shift work schedules and sources say the timely movement of staff from field breaks and back to work and vice-versa is very important for the smooth running of their projects.

Delayed and cancelled flights, and generally unfavorable scheduling, can mean serious disruption to their operations, the sources say.

The Government is aware of the current deteriorating standards of aviation facilities in the country and the need to improve them.

In November, a task force set up by Prime Minister Bill Skate submitted a paper on the state of aviation infrastructure and its effects not only on Air Niugini's operations but also on aviation safety generally in PNG.

The committee said crews and serviceable aircraft were two obvious infrastructure factors influencing system safety, while less obvious ones included operations manuals, air crew check and training systems, engineering quality, air traffic services, rescue and fire fighting facilities, navigational aids, airport maintenance, runway maintenance and lighting.

It said all these safety issues would impact on Air Niugini's operations by way of reduced revenue through low aircraft utilization (restricted night operation), delays and in-flight diversions.

They recommended that infrastructure upgrades, including in some cases runway construction, must be on the government's agenda for PNG aviation to progress.

Meanwhile, Air Niugini training manager C.H. Bennetts, in a letter to the Post-Courier editor, has said Air Niugini remains committed to the safety of its passengers and its role in helping other carriers. He said major airlines spent large sums on both initial and recurrent safety and emergency procedure training.

"Air Niugini quite properly leads the way,'' he said. "The airline's safety department is headed by one of our most experienced Airbus captains and we employ a full-time specialist safety trainer who coordinates emergency, safety, aviation medicine and first aid training.

"Advanced training for senior pilots and flight attendants is facilitated by our safety trainer at the Singapore Airlines Operations Centre every month.

"Training in human factors or Crew Resource Management is well established in Air Niugini and involves all pilots and senior flight attendants. A recent university study identified Air Niugini's CRM program as one that can claim an international leadership role and is regarded as `world best practice'.''

Title -- 1221 AVIATION: Chevron cuts tie with Air Niugini Date -- 26 February 1998 Byline -- Ruth Waram Origin -- Niuswire Source -- Post-Courier (PNG), 26/2/98 Copyright -- Post-Courier Status – Unabridged

This document is for educational and personal use only. Recipients should seek permission from the copyright source for reprinting. This service is provided by Journalism Studies, University of Papua New Guinea. Please acknowledge Niuswire:

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