AIR NIUGINI WINS NARITA RIGHTS, EYES MELANESIAN CONNECTIONS

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (April 27, 2001 - The National/PINA Nius Online)---Foreign Affairs Minister Bart Philemon announced that the Japanese government has approved Air Niugini’s request to begin weekly service to Narita International Airport in Tokyo starting in May 2002.

A PNG delegation led by Ambassador Aiwa Olmi held talks in Tokyo with Japanese government authorities regarding traffic rights between the two countries.

Air Niugini managing director Peter Roberts, who was at the meeting, said the direct weekly Port Moresby-Japan service would move the increasing quantities of tuna being exported from PNG to Japan.

Ambassador Olmi also noted that passengers and freight from Japan would use Port Moresby as a transit point to other Melanesian countries, using this Air Niugini service. This would indirectly assist other Melanesian countries to increase their links with Japan, he said.

Also at the meeting were representatives from the Department of Civil Aviation, the Tourism Promotion Authority and Air Niugini.

Under a previous arrangement, Air Niugini is allowed to fly once a week to Kansai Airport in Osaka; it has since operated such flights only on a seasonal basis.

Aside from the April 19 agreement, Air Niugini still has the right to fly to Kansai Airport in Osaka.

In return, a designated Japanese airline will be allowed to operate in equivalent capacity from Japan to Port Moresby and to a port beyond Port Moresby, if required.

However, there are no plans for any Japanese airline to do so at this time.

For additional reports from The National, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The National (Papua New Guinea).

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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