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Air Niugini cites global recession, flu fears

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, June 30, 2009) – Airlines around the world are currently undergoing intense pressure with a gloomy outlook for this year as a result of global recession aggravated by the H1N1 swine flu outbreak.

Air Niugini, the country’s flag carrier, has also experienced a reduction in passenger numbers in some of its international and domestic routes this year.

While the airliner’s Australian routes and some Asian destinations have shown growth, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur have suffered significant drop in traffic while some domestic sectors too, have shown a reduction in passenger traffic.

"Demand is also affected by infrastructure development which is limiting capacity to some parts," Air Niugini said in a statement.

Chief executive officer Wasantha Kumarasiri, who recently returned from the international air transport association’s (IATA) annual general meeting in Kuala Lumpur, said unlike the past five years, the current global recession has a material impact on the airline’s operation.

But he was optimistic about the future, saying even in turbulent times, Air Niugini would look ahead and work together with relevant stakeholders to ensure the airline delivered services and was profitable.

Mr. Kumarasiri also called on all service providers, mainly airports and associated services, other suppliers, travel agents and staff of Air Niugini to work in partnership and but most importantly ensuring resilience during these difficult times.

He also called on Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to assist the struggling industry by reducing airport and landing charges.

"It is not known how long this global recession will be on for but Air Niugini, as part of the global airline industry, must initiate with actions to adapt to the challenges."

Among the immediate positive actions were amendments to the current international flight schedules announced last week.

The National:

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