PNG Air pens major deal to expand fleet

PNG Air's ATR 72-600
PNG Air’s ATR 72-600

Papua New Guinea’s PNG Air has placed a significant new aircraft order.

The carrier, which was formerly known as Airlines PNG and is now undertaking a major transformation plan, has signed a deal with European turboprop-maker ATR for five new ATR 72-600 aircraft, valued at US$134 million.

PNG Air signed initially signed a firm order for six ATR 72-600s in 2014. The first of these new-generation turboprops started operating in November 2015 and the now airline operates four of the aircraft, with a fifth before the end of this year. The five new ATR 72-600s plus one additional leased aircraft means that PNG Air will operate at least 12 ATR 72-600s by 2022.

Muralee Siva, CEO of PNG Air, said the new aircraft would offer Papuan passengers a “new standard of domestic air service that is more comfortable and dependable”.

“The entry into service of our brand new, modern ATR -600s clearly supports our strategy to transform our business by modernising our fleet,” said Siva. “We will progressively phase out our previous-generation turboprops to introduce an aircraft that has become a reference on the regional market worldwide.”

The new name and fleet form part of a transformation plan that is focused on the domestic corporate market.

“PNG Air is also expanding into corporate transportation to support businesses aiming to develop their natural resource activities within Papua New Guinea,” the company said.

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