Domestic Flights In PNG Disrupted By Air Niugini Pilots Protest

Stop work action in support of calls for PM O’Neill to step down

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, July 16, 2016) – Air travel in Papua New Guinea was disrupted for the third day in a row on Friday as pilots protested against the Prime Minister's refusal to step down and face fraud allegations.

The Post Courier reports hundreds of passengers were stranded at Nadzab airport in Lae yesterday due to the silent protest by Air Niugini pilots.

The state owned airline has so far refused to admit its staff are taking part in the protest organised by a civil society group of concerned citizens.

Its leader the constitutional lawyer, Moses Murray, said the protest was peaceful and was not disrupting essential services.

"I would not prefer the work strike. They have exercised their conscience not to attend work and they're taking time out with their families, but in this group its not only the pilots. It's the doctors it's the nurses it's everybody," he said.

Mr Murray said his group would meet this weekend to decide whether to extend the stop work protest into next week.

Radio New Zealand International
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I was one of the pilots who helped Air Niugini get going way back in 1973. There was a very large expatriate employee content back then and efficiency, safety, great cabin service etc etc were our keywords! Then over the years localisation hit PX like most other companies and the long slide to a poorly rated, inefficient and disliked airline started ........ After all the time and effort everybody put in it is now a shame to see the basket case it has become! We had TWO expatriates running the entire airline operations department in '73 and they did a great job! Now there are some THIRTY SIX nationals doing the same job! After some FORTY THREE YEARS you would expect dramatic improvement but the reverse has happened, the company is going belly up and a couple of the national pilots causing the problems with pilot strikes were around in my days and were dreadful trouble makers who demanded all expatriates be fired from as many areas as possible! Well now we can see the results of localisation and it is heartbreaking to see what was once a proud and efficient airline becoming a laughing stock of the industry! Well done to the Government who condoned the mad rush to sack the expatriates and replace them with unskilled, under trained and generally incompetent nationals! There WERE some great nationals in PX and I know they shared the frustrations of seeing the whole airline going down hill!

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