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Former domestic carrier takes on international competitors

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Oct. 11, 2011) – Airlines PNG (APNG) is increasing weekday flights between Port Moresby and Brisbane, starting with an additional Thursday service in November.

The APNG management announced that effective November 1; the airline would be operating four weekday services on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The Thursday service will replace the Sunday service.

[PIR editor’s note: Airlines PNG, formerly Milne Bay Air, has been operating since 1987. ]

"We have dropped the Sunday service in favour of Thursday as customer demand has called for an addition to the weekday schedule and a reduction in demand for weekend services," said Scott Roworth, Chief Commercial Officer for Airlines PNG.

Passengers flying on the Port Moresby/Brisbane route are eligible to receive Velocity Reward points, a luggage allowance of 32kg plus great on board menu and in-flight entertainment options.

"With the domestic points in Australia and New Zealand now served by our agreement with Virgin Australia, we offer more choice to more places all easily booked through your travel agent," Mr Roworth said.

"Our goal is to ensure that the people of Papua New Guinea have the option of increased services and the ability to travel as they need to in order to connect people and businesses wherever they may be. Airlines PNG is committed to improving its services to better suit customer’s expectations," he said.

In June, APNG began daily services into Madang and four times a week operations to Kimbe and Kokopo, a demonstration of the airline’s increasing domestic operations.

While the airline admits that the expansion has been fuelled by customer demand, Mr Roworth said the performance of the new routes to Madang and the New Guinea Islands "has been nothing short of phenomenal in a short space of time".

APNG said it is investing in two new aircraft to support the increased services with the investment being made possible after the company moved from a K27 million loss in 2009 to a profit in both 2010 and 2011.

The airline is hoping its current merger with national flag carrier, Air Niugini, would bring great opportunities to the people of PNG and extend aviation services into a range of rural areas that are not currently served.

APNG said if the merger does follow through, the combined airline would become the largest fleet of aircraft in the South Pacific.

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