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New air services deal sees potential for new routes

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By HELEN TARAWA
The signing of a revised Papua New Guinea-Australia air services agreement on Friday will make new routes possible, Transport Secretary Roy Mumu says.
The agreement was signed by Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Westly Nukundj and Australia Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester.
Mumu said the agreement was to formalise an agreement signed in 2010 and it incorporated issues associated with aviation safety and security.
“Given the environment that we all go through, not only in PNG but within the Apec region and throughout the world, we need to be vigilant,” he said.
“One critical point that the senior officers agreed to was that it allowed other airports in Australia that take on international flights to allow Air Niugini the access of direct flights, including Townsville.”
Mumu said the passenger capacity of 3540 per week was still under-utilised and part of that arrangement was that Qantas withdraw from the Cairns-Port Moresby route and focused on the Brisbane-Port Moresby route.
He said likewise Air Niugni increased its services from
Brisbane to Port Moresby to two flights a day.
“Also associated with this new air services agreement is the possible identification of points of entry for PNG ports like Alotau, Kokopo (Tokua) and Mt Hagen.
“These air services agreements provide for that opportunity and PNG has air services  agreements with our regional partners or economies under Apec as well.
“In the five bilateral discussions that ministers has had so far, air services agreements are common themes that both heads of delegates for economics and our minister have discussed.”
Chester said he would be seeking to advance Australia’s interests with a strong focus on strengthening international collaboration
on key transport matters to better support trade and movement of goods.
“Aviation safety and security remains one of the Australia government’s highest priorities, and exchanging information on measures and methods between Apec neighbours will help strengthen our aviation network,”  Chester said.

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