Air Niugini operates special ‘hub’ flight services to FSM

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The government of the Federated States of Micronesia has thanked Papua New Guinea for connecting both countries through air services that are being operated by Air Niugini.

Assistant Secretary for Civil Aviation of the Department of Transportation, Communications and Infrastructure, Massy Halbert, said this new flight route would strengthen trade links and provide more business opportunities.

It would also promote a sense of “Pacificness” between both countries.

Halbert also added that it was historical and both countries will work together to ensure this service is sustained.

“Absolutely, I will continue to do my part, so plans for December to begin the passenger schedule service can proceed,” he said.

Air Niugini has begun operating the special services to Chuuk and Pohnpei in FSM and is flying a special service to FSM for the Pacific Islands Forum leaders summit whose preparatory meeting opens tomorrow.

There were 70 divers, and others, by chance were booked on the first flight PX 4072, operated by Boeing 737-700.

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After 2 hr 40 min, the Bird of Paradise touched down at Chuuk. From Chuuk, it took another hour to Pohnpei.

Sharing costs
Air Niugini chief executive officer, Simon Foo, says the partnership is about sharing costs involved in operating this service.

Industries like tourism will be promoted.

“It will be twice a week, from Port Moresby to Chuuk then Pohnpei and back the next day,” he said.

This service saves time and cost.

A passenger, Quinton Devlin who works in the Solomon Islands, said it now only took three hours to Pohnpei rather than connecting through different countries.

“From Honiara, this is the best route with less time,” he said

It’s always a privilege for operating crews, like Ethel Samlai, because normally they are randomly selected.

“I am very privileged and I thank Air Niugini for selecting the team which I was part of,” she said.

Foo said the establishment of this direct service from Papua New Guinea to the Federated States of Micronesia represented a major expansion of Air Niugini in the Pacific and for Port Moresby to become the Pacific’s “hub in the aviation industry”.

EMTV News reporter

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