An airline spokesman confirmed the deal with The National last night. According to the Air Line website, Air Niugini chairman Sir Frederick Reiher said the carrier “needed the planes urgently”.
Sir Frederick announced the deal with Boeing on the final day of the Singapore air show.
Air Niugini provides a domestic service plus flights to Australia, Singapore, Fiji, the Philippines, Solomon Islands, Hong Kong and Vanuatu, with plans to fly to Japan and China later.
The airline’s current fleet includes Next-Generation 737 and 767-300ER (extended range) aircraft.
Deliveries of Air Niugini’s new Boeing 737 MAX-8 aircraft are scheduled to begin in 2020.
Air Niugini said the new aircraft would allow the carrier to increase flight frequencies and expand its routes.
“Papua New Guinea is like no other place on earth and the 737 MAX-8 will allow us to economically and efficiently connect our beautiful country with the rest of the world,” Sir Frederick said.
“The superb economics of the 737 MAX will enable us to increase flight frequencies and develop into new markets which offer significant opportunities for Air Niugini.”
Dinesh Keskar, senior vice-president, Asia-Pacific and India sales, Boeing commercial air planes said: “We are honoured to expand our current partnership with Air Niugini, with the addition of four 737 MAX-8 air planes.
“The 737 MAX will provide Air Niugini with the fuel efficiency, operating economics and passenger amenities they need to ensure their success for the future.”
Keskar said the aircraft had its first test flight in late January and was “performing exceptionally well”. Boeing 737 MAX-8 incorporates the latest technology CFM international LEAP-1B engines, advanced technology winglets and other improvements to deliver the highest efficiency, reliability and passenger comfort in the single-aisle market.
Boeing’s 737 aircraft family competes with European rival Airbus’ A320 series in the single-aisle market, where the planes are favoured for short-to-medium-haul routes because of their fuel efficiency.
The new single-aisle air plane will deliver 20 per cent lower fuel use than the first Next-Generation 737 and the lowest operating costs in its class – 8 per cent per seat less than its nearest competitor.
According to the Aviation Week Intelligence Network fleet database, Air Niugini already operates one 737-700, two 737-800 and two 767-300ER in its fleet of 25 aircraft.
Other types include Bombardier Q400 and Bombardier Dash 8, and Fokker 70 and Fokker 100. The National / ONE PNG News