Airbus signs order with Papua New Guinea national carrier, Air Niugini

Air Niugini

Aircraft maker, Airbus, has signed an order with Papua New Guinea national carrier, Air Niugini, for six latest generation single aisle A220-100s, under its fleet modernisation programme. In addition, the carrier will acquire three A220-300s and another two A220-100s from third party lessors.

Airbus, which employs around 4,500 staff at its wing-making plant in Broughton, near Chester, has also delivered the first of five new A320neo aircraft to Brussels Airlines, part of German carrier, Lufthansa.

The Air Niugini order was announced at a special event in Port Moresby by Gary Seddon, acting chief executive Air Niugini and Anand Stanley, president Airbus Asia-Pacific, in the presence of James Marape, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea and William Duma, Minister for State Enterprises.

Combining the longest range, lowest fuel consumption and widest cabin in the 100-150 seat category, the A220 will be operated by Air Niugini across its domestic and regional network. The new fleet will deliver more capacity and greater reliability across the domestic network and enable the carrier to fly from capital Port Moresby to new destinations across the Asia-Pacific region.

Gary Seddon said: “This is a milestone in the history of our national airline that will support the growth of trade and tourism in Papua New Guinea. The new aircraft will offer the highest levels of comfort for our passengers, while also ensuring a significant reduction in fuel consumption and emissions when compared to the aircraft they will replace.”

Minister Duma said: “This is a momentous occasion for Air Niugini. Coinciding with the airline’s 50th anniversary, Air Niugini secures six new regional jets that will revolutionise travel for the citizens of Papua New Guinea. I am looking forward to welcoming the ‘People’s Balus’ (the people’s plane) to our skies.”

Christian Scherer, Airbus chief commercial officer and head of international, said: “Air Niugini has seen how much more the A220 brings to their airline than the competing product in this space, so much more efficiency, range, comfort and growth potential.”

Air Niugini also announced that it has selected a flight planning support system from Airbus subsidiary NAVBLUE for its fleet. Called N-Flight Planning (N-FP), the solution will help the airline optimise on fuel, time and cost to meet operational needs, while ensuring overall safety and compliance.

As at the end of September, Airbus had received more than 800 orders from around 30 customers for the A220, of which more than 280 have been delivered. The A220 is already in successful service with 17 airlines worldwide.