“It will be a terrible move which will be extremely detrimental to the travelling public of Papua New Guinea as there will be no competition,” said the airline.
“In a monopoly, price of airfares will rise, efficiency will decrease and Link PNG, through its holding company Air Niugini, will have absolute power to dictate to the travelling public how, when and where they will travel in the future.
“Air Niugini has already lost over 15 percent of passenger market share to PNG Air over the last few years. Our freight revenue has increased by 30 percent and charters by 25 percent.
“PNG Air now has 50 percent of the market share and is at an even level playing field with Air Niugini. Undoubtedly PNG Air has demonstrated an efficient, open, competitive operation to the Papua New Guinean public and businesses as seen by its increase in all areas of revenue generation and market share. Besides, its fares are an average of 10 percent lower than that of Air Niugini where the public has gained because of open market competition.”
PNG Air further questioned Link PNG Ltd’s intention to even be part of PNG Air “as a conflict of interest may arise if it so happens”.
“Jobs will definitely be lost both in Port Moresby and at out ports if this was allowed to go ahead because of consolidation,” said PNG Air.
“Departments will merge, outports will close and other operations will merge. Relying on a single airline in a country like Papua New Guinea for much needed air travel is not advisable and can cause huge issues should this single airline fail to deliver.
“Other shareholders of PNG Air and the PNG Air board were neither contacted nor consulted by Air Niugini regarding this move, which may breach Corporate Governance and Listing Rule protocols.
“There is no merger as they suggested, which is misleading the travelling public. PNG Air is operating with a strong well qualified team of executives, pilots, engineers and other dedicated staff and a strong board of directors.
“PNG Air is a private company wholly owned by Papua New Guineans. It goes to more destinations than Air Niugini with two additional destinations to come on board.
“It has a young and modern fleet of ATR aircrafts and over 80 percent of pilots and first officers are Papua New Guineans.
“PNG Air is on the verge of releasing its Strategy Plan to move forward post COVID-19 to ensure that a milestone of paying shareholders a dividend is reached while continuing to maintain safety as its number one priority and look after its travelling public; no different to what it has done in the past.
“For now, it is business as usual at PNG Air Limited.”