PNG Air highlights challenges

Aerodrome upgrades, poor internet and weather patterns are challenges faced by PNG Air in its daily operations.

PNG Air CEO, Muralee Siva, announced this during the company’s annual general meeting.

He said the aerodrome upgrades that are currently being done are disruptive and limit the operations they can carry out.

“For example, the Goroka airport upgrade that is still not completed limits our ability to take the ATRs to that port, with a negative impact on the bottom-line.”

Siva added: “We have internet reception problems in most of the ports, which in turn affects our on-time performance.

“Constantly changing weather conditions are challenging for our operations. Tabubil, Hagen and Lihir are some main ports where we suffer cancellations or limited payload due to weather changes.”

Siva said the company is well-equipped to deal with these challenges but it impacts the cost of doing business in PNG.

The challenges add onto a tough year for the company in 2016, which felt the effects of the global commodity price downturn and foreign exchange issue.

In addition, the company lost its charter contract with ExxonMobil; the losses were significant despite increase in regular passenger transport (RPT).

However, the airline says with the re-fleeting with ATR aircraft, rebranding to the PNG Air name and focusing on regular passenger transport (RPT) services around PNG, the winning of a charter contract with Newcrest Mining, and a positive economic outlook, the company is positioned strongly for strong returns.

Cedric Patjole