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Townsville Airport today welcomed Air Niugini’s inaugural service between Townsville and Port Moresby.
Arriving on the first flight were Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Hon. Peter O’Neill and Air Niugini Chairman, Sir Frederick Reiher amongst other Papua New Guinea delegates.
Townsville Airport Chief Operating Officer Kevin Gill said the new services would open up tourism and leisure opportunities from both inbound and outbound perspectives.
“Locals will no longer need to travel backward (via Brisbane) to go forward – slashing travel time and the expense of having to travel further domestically to access international destinations,” said Mr Gill.
“The new services with Air Niugini will offer Townsville locals direct connections to Manila via Port Moresby. Air Niugini will also provide Townsville a ‘one stop to Asia’ connection to Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore and beyond.
“Papua New Guinea and Townsville share a rich Defence history, with the Kokoda trail located in Port Moresby and Townsville being the largest Garrison city in Australia.
“It is expected the route will also facilitate further education, business, agriculture, and freight opportunities,” said Mr Gill.
The new services represent the addition of 15,800 seats between Port Moresby and Townsville each year.
Air Niugini Chairman Sir Frederick Reiher said the services were an important addition to Air Niugini’s regional hub.
“This service will offer the citizens of Townsville and other centres such as Mackay and Mt Isa the efficient international “connection” they don’t currently have – transiting here before traveling to our major Asian centres such as Manila, Singapore and Hong Kong as well as Honiara, Nadi, Port Vila , Pohnpei and Chuuk in the Pacific,” said Sir Frederick Reiher.
“It saves the Townsville community costs and cuts down on travel time. The inclusion of Townsville now brings the total Air Niugini destinations in Australia to four, other Air Niugini destinations are Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns.”
The Townsville – Port Moresby service operates twice weekly (Monday and Friday) by a Fokker 70 aircraft.
The route marks Townsville’s second international destination, following the commencement of Bali services in September 2015.