PNG Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (Oct. 3) - The Government should seriously consider inviting other international airlines to operate into and out of Papua New Guinea.

The total reliance on Air Niugini is detrimental to the interest of the traveling public and the nation as a whole, given the frequent flight cancellations due to mechanical problems.

Whatever the problems may be now is the time to stop protecting Air Niugini. It is time to talk serious business about providing a reliable air service for the traveling public. The Government must look for a long-term solution to the air transportation crisis facing PNG.

First we need more aircraft servicing the domestic routes. Then we need better aircraft servicing the international route ensuring that service is not interrupted in any way.

Peter Vincent, the chief executive officer of the Tourism Promotion Authority, is right in saying that Air Niugini has become an embarrassment in the global travel and tourism market with its continuous flight disruptions.

Mr. Vincent said the PNG tourism industry continued to suffer as a result of the airline’s continued failure to maintain effective and efficient flight schedules, both on its domestic and international sectors.

We agree with Vincent. His team at TPA has worked hard to bring more tourists to PNG but their efforts are not being helped by the frequent flight cancellations or late arrivals and departures by Air Niugini aircraft.

The Government needs to seriously address this issue. It has gone on for far too long. The traveling public wants to see competition in the air transportation sector without further delay. If Air Niugini cannot provide a reliable service, then the public has every right to turn to another operator who can provide the services they need.

Air Niugini has let the traveling public down time and time again over the years. Air Niugini management and boards have promised better services which they have failed to deliver. The public is simply annoyed and fed up.

The Government’s over-protection of Air Niugini is not in the best interests of the traveling public. Competition is needed to force the national flag carrier to either fly or be permanently grounded.

It is time to open up the PNG skies to other airlines in the Asia-Pacific region. All that we, the traveling public, want is an affordable and reliable airline service.

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