Sunday, June 03, 2012

Air Niugini to resume flights to Daru after 12 years


Air Niugini will begin regular flights to Daru, Western province, later this month after a 12-year absence which has seen airfares between Daru and Port Moresby rise to among the highest in the country.
Air Niugini acting general manager-commercial, Dominic Kaumu, confirmed this in Daru on Friday (June 1)  after one of its Q400 aircraft landed there to break the 12-year drought.
A proud moment...Captain Tauedea Ugava, who flew us on the Air Niugini Q400 to and from Daru on Friday, with PNGSDP CEO David Sode after the historic Q400 landing in Daru, which heralded the return of Air Niugini to Daru after 12 long years of suffering for the people of Daru and Western province.

Hundreds of people lined up the perimeter of Daru Airport to watch the Q400 land with many openly shedding tears of joy.
The last Air Niugini flight to Daru was on March 4, 2000, after which it had to stop services because of the unsafe state of the runway.
The Q400 was able to land because of a K40 million airport upgrade funded 50-50 by PNG Sustainable Development Program (PNGSDP) and Fly River provincial government through South Fly funding, with construction undertaken by Global Construction and supervised by National Airports Corporation.
Airlines PNG has had a virtual monopoly in the Daru-Port Moresby route over the last 12 years, with airfares now being K999 one way.
Kaumu said in Daru that Air Niugini fares would be cheaper than Airlines PNG, however, could not disclose the figures.
“We will begin operations about mid-June,” he said.
“We will be using the Dash 8 to Daru.
“We will also be using the Q400, but at a reduced capacity (passengers) because of the length of the runway.
“At this stage, not daily (flights), but at least three flights a week and we build up from there.
“I’ve spoken to a number of people and the information we’re getting is that everyone wants Air Niugini back.”

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