Air Niugini has blamed its exit from the Port Moresby-Townsville, Australia route on the loss of a code-share agreement with Qantas.
Air Niugini acting chief executive Tahawar Durrani said:
The decision by the Australian Government regulator, the International Air Services Commission (IASC), to disapprove the Qantas application to code share on Air Niugini’s innovative direct services to Townsville and Sydney, thereby denying customers a choice of marketing airline on these developmental and marginal flights, is one factor in the airline’s decision to suspend services to Townsville, and reduce Sydney flights to twice weekly.
The IASC said in a draft ruling that it proposed to reject the airline’s application after considering it “would not be of benefit to the public” and would reduce competition (Virgin Australia said the proposed code share was the “single most significant barrier to entry on the PNG route”).
The carrier’s withdrawal from the route is effective October 1.