PHILIPPINE Airlines has returned to Papua New Guinea after a 29 year absence.
The airline made its maiden voyage to the country last Friday, touching down at 9am at Port Moresby’s Jacksons International Airport and to a hose-down, as is tradition in the airline industry.
On hand to witness this auspicious event were senior executives of the airline including the vice president-commercial David Lim, first secretary for the Department of Works Lamek Palaso, Philippines Ambassador to PNG Bienvenido V Tejano, other government officials from both countries, members of the business community and a sizeable crowd of outbound travellers.
Speaking at a small welcome ceremony which was held at the departure lounge at Jacksons International terminal, Mr Lim had expressed the company’s excitement of its return to PNG.
He said the return marked a milestone and was a far cry from its early years in PNG which goes back as far as 1978-1986 when it had operated DC8 aircrafts.
He said the last decade had seen a marked increase in the number of Filipino expatriates coming into work in PNG in various professions adding that, its service would provide them with a competitive alternative in which to return directly home for their breaks.
He added that PNG nationals also stood to benefit as they would now have a direct link to Manila and beyond, be it also for business or pleasure.
Mr Lim said the aircraft would operate twice weekly, providing 12 seats in business class and 144 economy.
He had thanked the Government of PNG for giving the company the nod and also for the warm welcome and hospitality that was accorded to them.
Mr Palaso who had stood in for the Minister for Transport William Duma had stated that its return was indicative of the strong relationship between the two countries and had extended the Government’s warm welcome.
He said he is confident PAL’s return would ensure also an option not only in terms of costs but airline, adding it would also be an attraction for more PNG nationals to visit the Philippines.
Meanwhile PAL’s return was marked with speeches, ribbon cutting ceremony and a gala dinner which was held at their Airways Hotel. Post Courier/ONEPNG