AIR Niugini Limited officially begins its one-weekly regular passenger transport (RPT) service to Port Vila, Vanuatu, starting yesterday.
A Fokker 100 will be used for this service which is scheduled to depart Jackson International Airport, Port Moresby, at 10am (PNG time).
The flight goes via Honiara, the Solomon Islands, and is expected to land in Port Vila at 4pm (Vanuatu time).
Air Niugini general manager operations Dominic Kaumu said this service solidifies the discussions and agreements stemming from the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) trade and investment road show which PNG hosted in Port Moresby last year.
The service also builds on the National Government’s aspirations in seeing Air Niugini become a regional airline, while PNG a hub connecting the South West Pacific with South East Asia.
Mr Kaumu said the benefits that will come from this service will be immense and that the company was proud to be able to facilitate this.
"The service is being undertaken in true MSG spirit in that it will provide a linkage between member countries.
"It will open doors for more trade and movement of people," he said.
Mr Kaumu said that Air Niugini had previously operated flights to Port Vila in the 1980s and this would not be the first time the national flag carrier would be landing there. He said work that had been undertaken by the company had proven the route to be commercially viable and hence it had decided to re-establish this service with just a weekly service, but added there was potential for growth.