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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, May 8) - Air Niugini’s inability to obtain approval from the Air Safety Regulator has resulted in the much-anticipated planned international flight services between Rabaul and Cairns being cancelled for an indefinite period.

This has irked tourism operators in East New Britain, who were looking forward to these services, which would help to stimulate tourism in the province.

Air Niugini executives had reportedly advised the ENB Chamber of Commerce that the Air Niugini’s Safety Regulator’s decision also affected the charter services coinciding with cruise boats.

During a meeting with Air Niugini’s marketing general manager Jeff Murdoch, Rabaul port manager Lohia Aravapo and East New Britain Chamber of Commerce president Bruce Alexander recently, it was revealed that Air Niugini was canceling the planned program of twice monthly flights between Rabaul and Cairns.

Mr. Murdoch said the April services were cancelled at the last minute, as Air Niugini was unable to obtain approval from the Air Safety Regulator for operations to proceed.

The two reasons for this were outlined as:

This means that planned services for the period between May and October would have to be cancelled as well.

Reportedly, the Air Safety Regulator was insistent that these standards be met before approval for the services to operate was given.

Murdoch said on the other hand, the security x-ray scanning machine equipment had not been installed and confirmed that approval would not be forthcoming until such equipment was properly installed.

He said the equipment was very expensive and not readily sourced quickly.

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