National carrier, Air Niugini is taking additional precautionary measures to enhance the protection and well-being of its travelling passengers.
Adhering to the World Health Organization’s advice that there is an extremely low risk of cross transmission between passengers and crew.
To date, there has been no confirmed in-flight transmission of COVID–19 anywhere in the world.
The measures undertaken by the national air carrier comes despite concerns articulated in a statement by the Minister for State owned Enterprise, Sasindran Muthuvel that Air Niugini would see a severe drop in revenue collection due to the continued threat of COVID – 19.
Adding that Air Niugini cutting back on its international flights is necessary to protect the health of Papua New Guineans.
A reassuring message by the Air Niugini Managing Director, Alan Milne stated that Air Niugini is ready and has beefed up its precautionary measures by reducing and cancelling flights voluntarily for those locations where infection rates were previously increasing rapidly through Asia and will continue to do so to all locations showing signs of significant spread.
Further ensuring that all international departure airports with increased levels of infection that enhanced screening processes are in place and are being implemented to reduce any chance pf uplifting passengers to PNG who are showing signs of COVID – 19.
Other measures include aircraft sprayed with disinfectants, removal of in-flight magazines to reduce risks of cross transmission, ensuring all in-flight blankets, headsets are removed and cleaned prior to aircraft cleaning as well as providing all ground staff, cabin crew and check in staff with Personal Protective Equipment appropriate to the risk level for their role and location.
In a statement released by Prime Minister James Marape, flights as of next Sunday, flights will be scaled down, with flights ceased into
and out of Hong Kong, The Philippines, Narita (Japan) and Sydney, as well as from Pacific neighbours in Honiara and Nadi.
Controlled entry will however be done from Brisbane, Cairns and Singapore.
By Annette Kora, EMTV News, Port Moresby