The National –Wednesday, January 12, 2011
AIRLINE company Hevilift, a subsidiary of Regional Aviation Group, has added two new ATR 42-320s aircraft to expand its fleet to meet the growing travel requirements of resource companies in Papua New Guinea.
The 45-seat ATR turboprop aircrafts were the first to be introduced by RAG, becoming the largest capacity aircraft in the company’s combined fixed wing and helicopter fleet.
The two ATRs joined a fixed wing fleet of DeHavilland Twin Otters and five helicopter types.
The first has just entered service on routes from Port Moresby to Lihir, while the second is scheduled to begin in March.
Group manager-sales, marketing and contracts Peter Todd said with the PNG resources industry booming with current projects expanding and new projects beginning, “the ATRs will be based in Port Moresby and will increase significantly our ability to provide transportation for our resources clients between key centres in PNG”.
Todd said each aircraft now offers 25 more seats on the currently largest fixed-wing 20-seater DHC-6-300 Twin Otter.
“Although the ATRs are much larger than our current fixed wing fleet, they could still access regional airfields at resources sites throughout PNG, delivering not only more seats in key markets, but greater efficiency and convenience for our customers,” he said.
ATR sales director Australia and South Pacific Guillaume Huertas said the ATR 42-320 was ideal for the missions required by Hevilift.
“As well as adding capacity within PNG, the ATRs bring both a new level of comfort for passengers and the ability to offer more nonstop services, particularly on longer routes,” he said.
Hevilift plans to operate the ATR 42s to nine destinations in PNG, from a 30 minute route between Mt Hagen and Goroka, to the lengthy two-hour, 15minute route between Port Moresby and Lihir.
The aircraft will also serve locations as diverse as Buka and Misima Islands, Madang and Goroka, and will offer passenger or freight charters between PNG and Cairns.