Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has applauded Air Niugini today on its order and impending acquisition of 11 new aircraft that promises a much-improved service to Papua New Guineans and travelers within and outside of the country.

Prime Minister Marape gave the applause as he commended the national flag carrier on its continued dedication to aviation safety over the long period it is operating with an aged aircraft fleet.

The Prime Minister said this as he witnessed the signing of the agreement between Air Niugini and Airbus to purchase and lease the 11 aircraft from the world’s largest manufacturer of airliners, with the first of the planes expected to touch down in PNG in 2025.

Air Niugini is buying six new A220 series 100 jets from Airbus, as well as leasing two other A220-100s and three larger A220-300s from third party lessors. The new aircraft will replace Air Niugini’s existing fleet of Fokker 100/700 and Boeing 737 on domestic and regional international routes from 2025.

Prime Minister Marape said today his Cabinet agreed to the proposal to acquire the aircraft because of the need to urgently replace the existing fleet, and the forecast in the expansion of the economy with PNG’s new upcoming national investment projects. He called the acquisition “timely and appropriate” as PNG expects an increase in air travel over the next 10 years.

The Prime Minister expressed great optimism in Air Niugini picking up its service and making it both cost and time effective for the travelling public after the arrival of the planes.

Prime Minister Marape thanked Airbus and President Anand Stanley for partnering with Air Niugini, while adding that the decision to choose Airbus was because of the manufacturer’s reputation to deliver aircraft that can efficiently operate in PNG’s geography and climatic conditions.

The Prime Minister also acknowledged Minister for State-Owned Enterprises, Hon. William Duma; Air Niugini shareholding company, Kumul Consolidated Holdings, its board and management; and Air Niugini board and management for their efforts in acquiring the airplanes and rebuilding Air Niugini.