While September traditionally marks the change of season, this year it also marked the 45th year since Air Nuigini began a strong commercial relationship with FNQ. On 17th September 1975, Air Nuigini departed from a newly independent Papua New Guinea on a direct international flight to Cairns. While the original flight was a Fokker 27, today the airline flies Boeing 767’s to Cairns and prior to COVID it operated 11 services per week between the two locations.
Often associated with carrying FIFO workers, Air Nuigini also provides a direct link between PNG and Far North Queensland for the transportation of vital goods, fresh produce and tourism. Its unbroken record of nonstop service gives the airline the distinction of being the region’s longest serving international carrier.
Prior to COVID-19 pandemic Air Niugini was connecting 50,000 passengers a year between Cairns and Port Moresby and has continued to operate a weekly service despite the challenges of 2020.
Australian Airport Regional Manager for Air Niugini Maree Keygan said the airline had always had a daily service to Cairns pre COVID and that the partnership with Cairns Airport had been a strategic one that stood the test of time.
“1.5 million passengers have travelled on the service between Cairns and Port Moresby over the last 45 years and that’s the level of service we’re determined to resume as soon as possible.”
Cairns Airport Chief Executive Officer Norris Carter said Air Niugini had been instrumental in pioneering the growth of international aviation from Cairns Airport and the airline provided a vital foundation from which much of the business, investment and social connection between the two regions has been built.
“Four and half decades is an impressive record of uninterrupted service connecting Cairns with Port Moresby and beyond and it’s an outstanding achievement. This cooperation and commitment from Air Niugini has been important not only to the airport but to the local economy and most recently a crucial part of our trade story.”
Air Niugini took over the freight service to Hong Kong last year through a partnership with Cairns Airport and the Queensland Government with the new one stop connection to Hong Kong providing a vital link for local exporters.