THE national flag carrier Air Niugini has acquired two new bombardier aircrafts from a Canadian aircraft company at the price of US$60 million (K163.9 million).
Chief executive officer Wasantha Kumarasiri confirmed yesterday the company finalised the deal early this month and the two aircraft would arrive in the country in June and September next year.
The arrival of the two Dash 8 Q400 next generation aircraft will increase Air Niugini’s current fleet to 17 aircraft and ease travel for the airline’s numerous domestic and international passengers.
“This order means two brand-new 74 seats aircraft for domestic and immediate international such as Cairns will give the public flying experience on brand new aircraft,” Mr Kumarasiri told The National in a telephone interview yesterday.
“This addition is expected to bring significant improvement in reliability in our domestic service and international services,” he said.
Under the terms of the purchase, Air Niugini is also given the option to obtain a third aircraft.
However, when asked about this yesterday, Mr Kumarasiri said this had not happened and the company would visit that option next year.
“Air Niugini has been a respected customer since the early 1980s when the airline acquired three 50-seat de Havilland Dash 7 aircraft,” Reuters quoted Bombardier Commercial Aircraft company president Gary R. Scott, as saying.
Bombardier is a Dash 8 aircraft manufacturing company based in Toronto, Canada.
The purchase of the two brand new aircraft will greatly enhance Air Niugini’s domestic services by ensuring reliability and on time performance.