PX orders four Boeing 737 MAX aircrafts

Air Niugini has ordered four new Boeing 737 MAX aircrafts which will begin arriving in the country next year.

PX CEO, Alan Milne, said the first two will arrive before the end of 2020 and the other two in 2021.

He made the announcement at the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce & Industry Breakfast event yesterday.

The announcement by the Air Niugini CEO comes in the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 aircraft crash killing all passengers and crew on board.

The incident has seen the grounding of 737 MAX 8 aircrafts by major airline companies around the world.

Speaking at the POMCCI Breakfast, Milne said the factors surrounding the incident and mitigation to address them should be made known before the aircrafts arrive.

“We have the four 737 MAX’s on order, two for the end of 2020 and two for 2021, and I can tell you the issues with that MAX will be cleared in the next couple of weeks, so by the time we get the airplanes, this will be long and truly behind us.

“And that’s why I have been saying publicly in the media that we have enormous faith in the Boeing product and we are really looking forward to that delivery,” said Milne.

Milne stated that the purchase of the aircrafts is part of a long term strategy to improve the airline’s fleet.

“So finding a 767 replacement is getting pretty urgent,” he said.

“And then obviously the Fokker replacement as well. It’s only a mid-life airframe, very solid airplanes, but they are getting harder and harder to maintain. No new Fokkers are being built so supplies are drying up and its getting harder and harder to find parts.”

An aircraft engineer by profession, Milne says the safety of passengers and its crew are a priority and they will ensure they maintain this motto.

Air Niugini currently does not have a Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

Meanwhile, Chief Commissioner of the PNG Accident Investigation Commission, Hubert Namani, said in a recent statement: “I want to assure our PNG citizens and the travelling public that the Boeing 737 aircraft operated by Air Niugini and all operators currently flying Boeing 737 aircraft to and from Papua New Guinea, are not the Boeing 737 MAX model.”

Cedric Patjole