PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Nov. 3) - Aif Niugini is headed for a K45 million (US$13.7 million) profit this year after nearly a decade of hard times.

The profit forecast was announced at a cocktail party held on Saturday night to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Papua New Guinea’s national airline.

Chairman Joe Tauvasa said the turnaround had been achieved by a combination of factors, including sacrifices by staff and foreign currency savings.

Mr Tauvasa, a former managing director of the airline, also heralded the introduction of a new Fokker aircraft, an F-100 on the lucrative route to Cairns in Far North Queensland early next year. 

He said the airline had performed well despite the negative critics and difficult financial pressures.

The news comes amid controversy over Labor and Employment Minister Peter Yama wanting to remove recently appointed managing director Rod Nelson.

Mr Tauvasa on Saturday night said: "I am pleased to announce that after a spell of more than 10 years, the company will report an operating profit," adding Air Niugini was on its way to recovery.

Mr Tauvasa said the 2002-2003 financial years had been most difficult with controversies surrounding its privatization process. 

"Notwithstanding the difficult trading conditions in the industry, I am pleased to say Air Niugini has performed very well. For the first time in many years, the company has turned the corner and to the satisfaction of its stakeholders and creditors. With the improved air travel and enhanced cost control, the company will achieve an unprecedented result,’’ Mr Tauvasa said.

"In 1995, the airline presented a check of K1 million as dividend to its shareholder. After its 30th year of existence, we could be paying substantially more than that amount to the shareholder."

He also said a three-phase re-fleeting plan from 2003 would start later this month with the introduction of two additional Dash 8 aircraft. 

A new jet service to Cairns, Australia, and key provincial routes starts next April.

November 3, 2003

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier:


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