Air Niugini

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The beginning of Air Niugini could hardly have been less auspicious. It was September 1972, less than 18 months before Papua New Guinea was granted self-government and agreement in principle had already been reached regarding the formation of a new national airline.


Then came the fall of the Australian liberal coalition and the election of the first Labour government to gain power in Australia in 20 years. Overnight the whole project was thrown in doubt. Disagreement turned into acrimony as the various parties and government fought for bigger stakes in the company, whilst concerned TAA and Ansett pilots expressed concen over their uncertain future.

It took several months of concerted discussions and strong pressure by opposition members in the Australian parliament before an agreement was finally hammered out at the end of May. Under that historical agreement a single national airline eas to be formed which would take over Papua New Guinea's domestic services and would also compete on the Australia-Port Moresby route.

The airline was to be named "Air Niugini" which the accepted Pidgin English spelling of New Guinea. Initially the Papau New Guinea government took a 60% stake with TAA and Qantas taking a 12% satke each and the remaining 16% being accepted by Ansett. Qantas provided top management with the new airline absorbing all Ansett and TAA staff who wished for employment. Thus was born Air Niugini, the airline that has developed into one of Papua New Guinea's largest and respected corporation.

Air Niugini's official inauguration marked the beginnings of a rapid period of growth as a demand for traffic, both passenger and cargo, far exceeded all prior estimates. In it's first year alone, Air Niugini carried 350,000 passengers - 85,000 more than the taskforce had forecast and more than trans Australian Airways and Ansett combined. That same year, Air Niugini's fleet of eight Fokker F27s and DC3s flew more than 27,000 hours; some more than was projected.

Nor was the growth merely a flash in the pan. the following year, the airlineturned in another sparkling performance and by 1975 the decision was taken to acquire new aircraft to service the demand for the company's service. After lenghty discussions, Air Niugini succeeded in obtaining two more F-27 Fokker friendships, bringing the size of the fleet up to 10. the major foundations for the airline's future growth had been laid.

Location

Air Niugini
Jackson's Airport Port
Port Moresby NCD, Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea

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+675 327 3396/327 3485
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+675 327 3663

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