From MALUM NALU in Cebu
Business between the Philippines and Papua New Guinea is likely to increase with the introduction of the twice-weekly Air Niugini Boeing 737-700 flights between Cebu and Port Moresby, according to Air Niugini deputy chairman Sir Fredrick Reiher.
He said this at Jackson Airport in Port Moresby yesterday (Monday) when launching Air Niugini’s inaugural flight to Cebu, which included senior government officials, private sector officials, and senior management and board members of the airline.
The four-hour flight left Port Moresby at 3pm PNG time and arrived in Cebu to a grand welcome at after 7pm (5pm Cebu time).
|The Air Niugini Boeing 737 being welcomed to Cebu at 7.30pm PNG time last night (5.30pm Cebu time).-Pictures by MALUM NALU|
VIPs included Independent Public Business Corporation (IPBC) chairman Dr Thomas Webster, IPBC managing director Thomas Webster, chief migration officer Mataio Rabura, major Air Niugini corporate client representatives, representatives from travel agencies, and history-making commercial passengers.
Heavyweights in Cebu last night included president of RD Tuna Group Ritchie Rivera, managing director of Frabelle Fishing Francisco Tiulaurel Jr, Frabelle PNG Ltd Augusto Natividad, owner of Kenmore Group of Companies Lucio Tan, chairman of Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority Manuel Roxas, Cebu City mayor Michael Rama, Lapu Lapu City mayor Paz Radaza. Mandaue City mayor Jonas Cortest, members of the House of Representatives, and PNG Ambasador to Philippines Chris Vihruri Jr.
|Phillipines and PNG VIPs at last nights welcome reception in Cebu|
“I understand that that due to passénger demand, Air Niugini has now added Cebu and such expansion is commendable,” Sir Fredrick said.
“Instead of travelling via Manila, the Cebu service now makes it easier for the Filipinos involved in the LNG project, those in the fisheries sector and other businesses to fly direct to Cebu.
“Once the scheduled operations commence, I am told Air Niugini will have two direct flights from Port Moresby to Cebu every Tuesday and Friday.
“The flight on Tuesday leaves Port Moresby at 5.50pm and arrives in Cebu at 8.20pm.
“The flight on Thursday also has the same departure and arrival times.”
Reiher said this was the first Air Niugini flight to Cebu and also the first for its newly-acquired Boeing 737-700 series aircraft.
“It did its first operations on Sunday to Sydney and today will be the second, although it is the aircraft’s first operation to Cebu,” he said.
“The commencement of this flight now brings to 10 international destinations, Air Niugini now operates to whilst it also marks Air Niugini’s second destination in the Philippines after the capital, Manila.
|The Air Niugini Boeing 737 after arrival at Cebu last night.|
“Other international destinations include Cairns, Brisbane and Sydney in Australia, Honiara in Solomon Islands, Nadi in Fiji, Tokyo in Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong.”
Air Niugini chief executive officer Wasantha Kumarasi said in Cebu last night that the regular flights would boost business opportunities between the two countries.
|Air Niugini chief executive officer Wasantha Kumarasi speaks in Cebu last night.|
“The Cebu route ensures convenience for the hundreds of Filipinos involved in the multi-billion dollar LNG project in Papua New Guinea, as well as those Filipinos in the fisheries sector and other industries,” he said.
“I am happy to see the president of RD Tuna Group, president of Frabelle PNG Ltd, and owner of Kenmore Group of Companies this evening.”