North Pacific opens

New Guinea’s bird spreads its wings

TRAVEL to the Northern Pacific has opened further with new schedules released by Air Niugini. Beginning in December, Papua New Guinea’s national carrier will fly to Chuuk and Pohnpei which were previously accessible via a number of long haul routes through Korea, Japan, Guam or the Central Pacific.

The new route allows travelers to fly from Nadi (Fiji), Honiara (the Solomon Islands), Vila (Vanuatu) and the Australian cities of Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns to Port Moresby and then Chuuk and Pohnpei. Air Niugini also has services to Bali, Manila, Singapore and Hong Kong through its Port Moresby hub and hopes to attract visitors who fly to the Northern Pacific for its pristine waters, diving and snorkeling. The inaugural flights from Port Moresby flew last month to coincide with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat meeting in the Federated States of Micronesia.

Test flights using a Boeing 737 aircraft will continue until the commercial service begins. Air Niugini Chief Executive Officer, Simon Foo, said the airline would initially operate a twice-weekly round service on Wednesdays and Saturdays. “These flights will also enable passengers between the Pacific, Australia, Indonesia, Philippines and FSM to connect through Port Moresby, saving them considerable time and opening the possibility of stop over tourism within PNG,” Foo said.

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