By MARK HAIHUIE
FORMAL approval has been given to Air Niugini by the Federated States of Micronesia President Peter Christian to operate commercial flights between the two countries.
Air Niugini board chairman Sir Frederick Reiher led a management team on the airline’s first flight to the FSM states of Chuuk and Pomphei.
They held discussions with officials from the FSM government and the Chamber of Commerce.
Sir Frederick said the visit was the result of the discussions between the FSM President and Prime Minister Peter O’Neil during the 2015 Pacific Forum Meeting in Port Moresby. Air Niugini was invited to start a regular air service to FSM.
He said Christian handed over a foreign air carrier permit to allow Air Niugini’s bi-weekly commercial flights starting in December.
“President Christian described this agreement with Air Niugini and PNG as a sign of how co-operation between the Pacific Islands Forum members works for the real benefit of member countries,” he said.
He is hold follow-up discussions O’Neill during this week’s forum meeting in Pohnpei.
“The FSM government and the local business community, undertook to give their full support to the new service, and work with Air Niugini to ensure its long-term success,” Sir Frederick said.
“So that the financial risks associated with a new international service can be managed, Air Niugini has asked the FSM Government to share the risk involved in establishing this new air service.
“I am delighted that the President and his government responded positively to our request, and have agreed to provide a firm response when the financial year begins in October.”
By MARK HAIHUIE