Supreme Court dismisses PX appeal

The Supreme Court has dismissed an application by Air Niugini seeking leave of the court to appeal a National Court decision which put a stay on the termination of eight national pilots of Air Niugini.

Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia this afternoon ruled he was not persuaded that Air Niugini had an arguable case made out.

Air Niugini filed the appeal on grounds the Judicial review in the National Court is an abuse of process because Air Niugini is subject to Company Act and its decisions cannot be reviewed through a judicial review proceeding. 

The Chief Justice said the National Court judge did not make an error when he granted leave for a judicial review to be carried out against their termination.

He dismissed Air Niugini’s appeal. The matter before the National Court has been set for trial on Dec 22 and will go ahead before Justice Collin Makail.

Sir Salamo said Air Niugini is a national airline and a public corporation because its existence originates from section 30 of the National Airline Commission Act.

Moses Murray Lawyer representing the eight Pilots, said his clients have been put back on the payroll since the decision of Oct 7 however they have not been put back on the roster to fly.

Captains Joseph Kumasi, Vincent Tongia, Norman Daniel, Boris Ageda, Benjamin Lopa, and First Officers Elijah Yuangi, David Seken and Abel Kanego, were terminated by the Air Niugini management between Sept 1 and 15 over allegations of misconduct.

Between July 13 and 20, 2016, Air Niugini experienced an increase in the number of national pilots reporting sick and unable to attend work after a stop- work took place, calling on Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to step down from office. The stop work was not an industrial issue and began on 13 July, 2016.

They were terminated by Air Niugini for refusing to attend to the company’s approved doctor for a second medical opinion after they provided medical certificates for days they missed work on.

They were also terminated for failing to report for duty for reasons of security concern, and sharing Facebook posts that called for civilians not to go for work during the month of July.

They were terminated because they did not turn up for work, which resulted in many flights being interrupted and many passengers stranded during the stop work period.



Sally Pokiton