The Aviation industry in PNG is among a number of high-risk sectors being affected due to COVID-19.
As restrictions on travel movement are relaxed the industry also faces issues of renewal of certain aviation licenses and requirements that usually see Pilots travel overseas for renewal.
As so when PNG Air was faced with the issue of renewal of pilot proficiency checks that are usually done in Australia, PNG Air developed the first approved process for large aircraft competency assessment to be completed without simulator support in-country.
Manager Flying Operations Captain Emmanuel Kadiko said this is a positive step forward as the first of its kind to ensure that airline services can be continued for Papua New Guineans by Papua New Guineans in line with the company mission statement to be proudly Papua New Guinean.
PNG Air currently has 61 in country pilots along with a fleet of 7 ATR 72 and 6 Dash 8, where one Dash 8 is solely for cargo.
The in-house proficiency checks approved by CASA PNG and for PNG Air ATR 72 and Dash 8 pilots to allow them to maintain the highest standards available for Regulatory and customer safety.
PNG Air’s Captain Ralph Teo and Shaun Minto developed the two days checks where pilots are briefed and drilled in emergency scenarios including engine failure during take-off, fire drills, systems failures, and emergency management procedures for successful flight returns.
The program was rolled out on Monday 18th May with Captains Ben Samlal and Raphael Kome completing a full-day briefing on all required emergency, abnormal and normal procedures with a subsequent day flying in normal airline operations to ensure required competencies were retained.
The successful outcome for these pilots now secures their competency until next year and until international barriers are removed.
The in-house training allowing PNG Air to save a quarter of a million, Much needed cost saving as the airline has stood down its pilots who do tours and tries to continue to operate with the in-country crew during the COVID-19 period.
By Adelaide Sirox Kari, EMTV News, Port Moresby.