PNG Air plans to increase new fleet to 13 planes

The newly renamed airline PNG Air plans to increase its new ATR 72-600 fleet to 13 by 2020.

With the first aircraft undergoing its maiden voyage throughout the country in the coming days, plans are underway to bring in 12 more.

The ATR aircraft seats up to 74 passengers and will replace the Havilland Canada DHC-8-100 Dash 8 fleet for Airlines PNG, now trading as PNG Air.

The second plane will arrive next month. Three more arrive in 2016 in March, June and November. These will include business class seating.

PNG Air chief executive officer Muralee Siva said their long term plan is to become a full ATR operator by 2020.

“By 2017 we expect to have two ATR aircraft arriving every year until 2020.”

“When we made the decision to re-fleet we had to choose the right aircraft and ATR is a very successful company.

“This is one of the best aircraft for PNG in terms of passenger comfort, safety and cost,” he said.

A total of 16 pilots and 12 engineers are undergoing training in Singapore to learn how to operate the aircraft.

The ATR 72 aircraft will start operating in seven centres in the country on 16 November and they’re Goroka, Popondetta, Lae, Wewak, Mt Hagen, Alotau and Port Moresby.  

Quintina Naime