Flights to benefit PNG

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PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill says increased investment and the creation of more jobs will result from the establishment of commercial flights between Port Moresby and Townsville in North Queensland.
After a visit to Townsville this week, where he spoke with a number of elected officials and businesspeople, the prime minister said there was a lot to be gained from flights to the city and he was encouraging officials to accelerate negotiations with Australian civil aviation officials.
“In Queensland, we have flights to Cairns and Brisbane, but there is potential in a different way with Townsville that can deliver greater benefits for PNG,” O’Neill said.
“Townsville is the largest urban centre in Northern Australia and has both existing and a number of new potential linkages with Papua New Guinea.
“Townsville is a business and industry city that has growing importance for trade and investment with Papua New Guinea.
“We also know there is already a great deal of travel between Townsville and Port Moresby for students studying at James Cook University, and for Defence Force personnel from both countries.”
O’Neill said tourism from North Queensland would receive a boost when flights were established.
“The average income for people in Townsville is higher than many other parts of Australia, and there is genuine interest in visiting Papua New Guinea,” he said.
“This includes members of the Australian Defence Force based in Townsville who want to walk the Kokoda Track, rugby league fans who want to see the Hunters games and adventure travellers.
“Being able to fly on a single ticket makes booking and travel easier so we will see how soon we can establish the flights.”
He said the flights would initially transit through Cairns and connect to Port Moresby, which is a growing regional hub for air travel.
“Air Niugini is expanding its services around the Asia-Pacific and this includes a new service to Micronesia and soon to China and Polynesia.
“Port Moresby is a good connection point for people from Townsville and I think the flights will be well used.”

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