By MALUM NALU
PUBLIC Enterprises and State Investment Minister William Duma will discuss with the management of Air Niugini the sacking last week of eight of its pilots.
He told The National yesterday that he had received statements from the eight pilots and would study them before meeting the airline management.
He has also received a brief from the airline management on why they were sacked.
The eight are Captain Joe Kumasi and First Officer Boris Ageda on the Boeing 767, Captain Ben Lopa and First officer Elijah Yuangi on the Boeing 737, Captain Vince Tongia and First Officer David Sekan of the F100 and F70, Captain Norman Daniel and First Officer Abel Kanengo on the Dash-8.
They received their termination notices last Thursday.
“I have received letters from each of the terminated pilots, and I’ve also received a brief from Air Niugini,” Duma told The National yesterday.
“I’ll go through those and I will then speak to the management of Air Niugini.”
On the possibility of their reinstatement, Duma said he did not want to preempt anything.
“The decision would have to be made by the employer, which is Air Niugini,” he said.
“I can only express my views to them. The final decision will be made by Air Niugini, which was their employer until their termination. I do not employ them.
“I’ve received a brief from management as well as statements from the terminated pilots, who are citizens anyway. I will speak to the management next week.”
Air Niugini chief executive officer Simon Foo told The National the eight were sacked for taking part in a “politically-motivated” stop-work in July during a nationwide unrest instigated by university students.
“The sudden increase in the number of national pilots reporting sick and unable to attend work from July 13 to 20 affected Air Niugini flights,” he said.
“The airline customers were greatly affected during this period.
“Air Niugini experienced numerous flight delays and cancellations.
“Consequently, Air Niugini’s image and branding was severely tarnished, losing valued customers to the opposition airlines both domestically and internationally and incurring significant financial loss.
“Apart from the core group of national pilots, all other employee groups attended to work as normal.”
By MALUM NALU