AIR NIUGINI, QANTAS CODE-SHARE DEAL APPROVED

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PORT MORESBY, Papua new Guinea (July 8, 2002 - The National/PINA Nius Online)---Financially troubled Air Niugini has been given a reprieve, with the go-ahead to enter a five-year passenger code-sharing agreement with Australia's Qantas.

The code-share deal means Air Niugini will not compete with the Australian giant on Papua New Guinea-Australia routes effective in September. Instead, the airlines will work together.

However, as part of the deal, Qantas insisted that Air Niugini replace its ageing Airbus aircraft with a Boeing 767.

Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta said the deal would ease the pressure on Air Niugini.

He said Air Niugini's revenue had increased during a previous five-month code-share with Qantas, which ended in February.

The planned privatization of Air Niugini remains on the backburner after the sale process was aborted last year.

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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