Airline aims to improve services

Business

AVIATION services will continue to be vital to the people and the economy, and the country will always need competition to get the standard of service it deserves, according to PNG Air.
The airline’s chief executive, Muralee Siva, outlined the company’s long-term plan as it continues to operate in the country.
The airline’s 2016 results showed that it recorded a K34.8 million operating loss (before tax and abnormals of K38.7 million from the return of leased Dash-8 aircraft and the induction of the ATRs), with major factors affecting performance including the softening of the Papua New Guinea economy, lack of new charter opportunities, continuous depreciation of the kina against major overseas currencies, upgrades and other work at various airports restricting flight services.
“The airline is continuing its focus on implementing its commercial strategy,” Siva said.
“We have already introduced the sixth new ATR to our fleet, with the seventh to be brought in later in the year.
“The PNG Air team is also working towards improving our product further by introducing a customer loyalty programme, opening lounges at key ports and launching a mobile payment facility to complement the existing mobile booking facility.”
Last year, the airline brought five new ATR 72-600 aircraft, making it on average the youngest fleet in the country and allowing it to fly most of its passengers on the ATR.
“As the soft economic conditions mean the overall market has grown little, the growth PNG Air has achieved means we have increased our market share and we will continue to build on that,” Siva said.
“In the short-term, this does mean the airline is going through a transition phase at the same time as Papua New Guinea is facing economic hurdles due to the global downturn in commodity prices.
“However, the transition is necessary to set the airline up for the future, and is already helping us win market share.
“As Papua New Guinea economy continues to revive PNG Air will be ready to grow with it.”

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