By Fabian Hakalits – EM TV News, Port Moresby
From its humble beginnings known as Milne Bay Airlines (MBA), then Airlines PNG and now PNG Air, the company has grown from strength to strength serving the people of this country.
Airlines PNG has just rebranded its name and will now trade as PNG Air. This is the second time; the company has undergone a rebranding exercise.
Chief Executive Officer, Muralee Siva, it started two years ago, in 2013, when the airlines board and management decided to rebrand the airline. A new name and visual identity to reinforce it as a company proudly PNG owned and run by its people.
He said the rebranding fits the company’s vision as PNG’s next-generation airline of choice and symbol of fleet transformation ‘People Connecting People’.
PNG Air’s focus is training and staff development. Throughout the process of introducing the ATR 72-600 aircraft and developing the PNG Air brand, reinforcing the airlines service culture is through staff training.
It was a dual celebration last night, the rebranding of Airlines PNG to PNG Air and the commissioning of the new aircraft ATR 72-600.
Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, commissioned the new aircraft and stated that the National Government will continue to support the aviation industry because of the demand and contribution to economic growth.
The rebranding comes at a time when Port Moresby is in the process of becoming the air transport hub for Asia Pacific. The Prime Minister then challenged PNG Air to expand its services abroad.
MRDC Managing Director, Augustine Mano, said that the new brand provides a new beginning for the company’s significant change and represents its bold plan for the future.
The new name highlights the airlines connection to PNG and also reflects shareholders commitment MRDC and Nasfund.
Paul Abbot who is the Chief Commercial Officer, said PNG Air is committed to improve performance focusing in the domestic market. It has invested heavily in the best aircraft that suits the environment in such mountainous terrains of this country.
The ATR 72-600 today made its maiden flight to Lae, Morobe Province, under the command of Captains Jerome Bonetto and Raphael Kome.
Other members of the operating crew were Cabin Crew Manager, Isaiah Tseraha, and ATR Fleet Coordinator, Kapi Eria.
On board were management team and the media.
It was given a welcome wash-down as it taxied into the Nadzab Airport tarmac.
According to Mr Siva, seven more ATR aircraft will be purchased to fly in PNG.
PNG Air is expected to outpace the Dash 8 aircrafts.
The ATR 72-600 offers the widest cabin in the turboprop market, new seats, more baggage rooms and a greater feeling of space, plus reliability to get you on time to your destination.
It offers technology exceeding current technical, safety and maintenance requirements, and significantly enhancing operational safety.