Well, it was only last week that we posted a photo of the exciting and unique branding of Fiji Airways on Facebook and lo and behold, there are talks for a code sharing agreement between Air Niugini and Fiji Airways.
In a report published by Fiji Sun, the Papua New Guinea Government is currently exploring the opportunity of having its State Owned national carrier Air Niugini enter into a code sharing agreement with Fiji’s national airline Fiji Airways.
The most exciting aspect of the latest news is that the code sharing agreement will focus on new and emerging destinations.
This of course is exciting news for Papua New Guineans given that Fiji Airways has a far more extensive reach and travels to more destinations than Air Niugini.
The report says that the Papua New Guinea Government is looking at destinations in Asia and the USA.
Recently, Papua New Guinea welcomed Philippine Airlines to enter the market for the Manila-Port Moresby route.
Minister for Trade and Industry Richard Maru is at the forefront of this move. Maru is reported to have said that PNG’s economy is highly dependent on oil, LNG and gold but there is also a need to build up a more sustainable and robust economy.
That sustainable and robust economy lies very much in tourism and a connection with Fiji Airways is obviously a positive step towards further opening up Papua New Guinea’s tourism potential to the world.
While it’s unlikely but not impossible that Papua New Guinea will have a mass tourism market, Papua New Guinea does offer unique adventure and culture based tourism experiences you won’t see anywhere else in the world. An association with Fiji Airways is likely to add a positive impression to Papua New Guinea’s tourism potential.
Papua New Guinea has also seen an increase in Fijian nationals working in Papua New Guinea and the move to connect with Fiji Airways will no doubt be welcomed by the Fijian community here too.
Air Niugini at present only travels to 11 cities in 8 countries (including codeshare). The cities are Brisbane, Sydney, Cairns, Singapore, Bali, Hong Kong, Nadi, Manila, Honiara, Port Vila, Tokyo.
Fiji Airways on the other hand flies to 78 cities in 20 countries (including codeshare).
As you can see, the potential travel opportunities are enormous should the code sharing agreement between Fiji Airways and Air Niugini materialise.
While it’s unclear as to what the Fijians will benefit from, the report indicated that Fiji Airways could benefit from Air Niugini’s direct flights to one of the hottest holiday destinations, Bali in Indonesia. At present, Fiji Airways only travels to Indonesia’s capital Jakarta.
From the business travel perspective, Minister Maru indicated that foreign workers in PNG’s mining projects especially those from US and Europe would welcome this code sharing opportunity as it would make it much easier for them to access PNG through Fiji.
Would you welcome this move if it came to fruition?
We certainly consider it as an exciting prospect especially for Papua New Guinea travellers and would be travellers who have been somewhat restricted to the Australian market.
There is a growing trend of Papua New Guinea travellers diverting their holidays from Australia to Asia and a link with Fiji Airways would most certainly broaden the horizon.