Air Niugini Declares Reports as Fake

Air Niugini Declares Reports as Fake

PIC: Skerah

Monday 19 February, 2024

Air Niugini is the national airline of Papua New Guinea, and recently celebrated 50 years of operation. The airline proudly serves the people with competent, accessible, reliable air transport services.

A series of online articles written and published by Pacific Guardian attempt to discredit the integrity of the airline, its management team, and its Board of Directors.

The Pacific Guardian report of 17th February 2024 titled “AIR NIUGINI CANCELS LEASE AGREEMENT AT COST OF REPUTATION OF FUTURE LEASES”, made several false and misleading allegations.

1. Air Niugini is NOT cancelling the wet lease agreement early. The SkyUp Airlines Boeing 737 lease agreement is being operated to the full agreed term. The lease is not being cut short.

2. Air Niugini is satisfied that the aircraft has achieved its objectives, though additional flights to other PNG centres would have been preferred.

3. The Air Niugini Acting CEO and his team negotiated the rate with SkyUp Airlines LLC, of Kiev, Ukraine. The terms and duration of the lease arrangement were also negotiated by the Air Niugini team.

4. Air Niugini did NOT pay K30million for ‘extra two engines’ for the ‘Bird of Paradise painted…’ aircraft. The engines were free of any charges, funded entirely by the lessor, as per the terms and conditions of the negotiated arrangement.

5. Air Niugini is NOT on a ‘lease blacklist’, as the SkyUp Airlines lease was not terminated. No such list exists.

6. Air Niugini states the SkyUp Airlines lease arrangement was beneficial. Though, as previously stated, Air Niugini had hoped the aircraft would have serviced more of its domestic network, however limitations and restrictions at domestic airports prevented this from occurring.

7. The Air Niugini management and board, including the Acting CEO and Chairman, have extensive experience negotiating these arrangements. This has been demonstrated widely from the negotiation of aircraft purchase agreements with Boeing and Airbus to arrangements that brought catering services back to the company. The management team boasts some of the most experienced aviation specialists in the industry – experience gained from globally recognised airlines, and not just in PNG.

The management of Air Niugini acknowledges the poor quality of the articles, evidently authored by individuals lacking in-depth understanding of the subject matter. However, such inadequacy does not justify the propagation of falsehoods.

Air Niugini reaffirms its commitment to addressing the challenges stemming from years of mismanagement and poor decision-making.

Supported by the board of directors and Kumul Consolidated Holdings, our shareholder, the management team has committed to introduce new aircraft to PNG, in 2025.

These new arrivals are currently scheduled to arrive in September, coinciding with our nation’s 50th anniversary of independence, marking a significant milestone for Papua New Guinea and Air Niugini, as well as for our loyal customers and dedicated team members.

The Acting CEO and his team are cognizant of individuals seeking to destabilise the airline, some of whom are former Air Niugini employees who owe much to the company.

Fabricated news and baseless accusations will no longer be tolerated or overlooked. We are committed to safeguarding the reputation of the Air Niugini team, the company, our board, and our shareholder. Any falsehoods will be rebutted, and we will take legal action against those responsible to the fullest extent of the law.

The management and board of Air Niugini extend their heartfelt gratitude to the SkyUp Airlines team as they prepare to return to Europe after an extended period away from home since December 2023.

Corporate Communications Department