Monday, April 20, 2009

Air Niugini clarifies Falcon jet buy

NATIONAL flag carrier Air Niugini has defended its decision to enter into a commercial arrangement with the National Government over its acquisition of a French-made Falcon regional jet, The National reports.

Air Niugini chief executive officer Wasantha Kumarasiri said in a statement last week that the decision to buy the aircraft was a commercial opportunity to provide the Government with an executive jet charter service of the highest standard.

The jet, which is currently going through final equipment installation in the United States, is being financed through a five-year loan re-payment arrangement through French Export Finance.

It will be repaid at an attractive interest rate, contrary to media reports of an immediate full payment in cash.

While pricing remained a matter of “commercial confidentiality” under the purchase agreement, Air Niugini regarded it as “an excellent value”, Mr Kumarasiri said.

He said Air Niugini would operate the small pressurised regional jet aircraft, not an ultra-long range jet, under its registration, with its pilots flying the plane to several of the country’s ports and all its international destinations.

“The aircraft can make direct flights from Port Moresby to Perth (Australia), Auckland (New Zealand), Nadi (Fiji), Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Japan, China and several other countries within the region.

“Flying far is also possible with several technical stops to refuel the aircraft,” he added.

“Domestically, the aircraft is able to fly to several ports, either unrestricted or twice a month, to those that are currently being serviced by the Fokker 100,” Mr Kumarasiri said.

Meanwhile, on the domestic front, Air Niugini has also clarified that there will be four additional flights between Madang and Wewak, making a total 15 flights a week.

The additional flights started last Friday with others scheduled for every Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.


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