General Manager Alex Kia said: “It is absolutely our intent that PNG shall continue to have two separate airlines, PNG Air and Air Niugini, and that there will continue to be a strong, competitive domestic market with options for travelers.”
Link PNG intends that this will be achieved by means of a joint operating agreement between the airlines, which will ensure PNG Air continues to service its customers under its existing brand and at its own prices.
Cabin crew, sales staff and check-in staff will remain in PNG Air uniforms, and PNG Air's aircraft will remain in PNG Air livery.
PNG Air and Link PNG will have separate sales and marketing functions, while still achieving the operational cost savings that will enable a stronger and more dynamic airline industry in PNG over the longer term.
Kia noted the key synergy benefits come from back office functions that can be more efficiently managed across the two airlines, and from a more efficient use of the two fleets.
“We believe there is a compelling case for creating a stronger, stand-alone PNG Air, across a wider network, as well as ensuring job security and certainty for the travelling public. We will also ensure the savings created will be passed back onto our customers.”
Link PNG said it is committed to ensuring more affordable airfares; with the lower prices resulting from economies of scale and through the considerable cost efficiencies that are available.
Kia added the joint operating arrangements will allow aviation to survive COVID-19, and emerge from the other side as an even larger contributor to PNG’s economic growth and living standards by driving lower airfares and achieving sustainability.
Link PNG requires all regulatory and shareholder approvals, including from Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC), before the joint venture is finalised.