The national carrier of Papua New Guinea, Air Niugini, has confirmed it has agreed to purchase six A220-100 aircraft from planemaker Airbus.
According to the country’s Minister for State Enterprise William Duma, the agreement announced on November 1, 2023, will “revolutionize travel for the citizens of Papua New Guinea”.
Under its fleet modernization program, Air Niugini will also acquire three A220-300s and two A220-100s from third party lessors.
“This is a milestone in the history of our national airline that will support the growth of trade and tourism in Papua New Guinea. The new aircraft will offer the highest levels of comfort for our passengers, while also ensuring a significant reduction in fuel consumption and emissions when compared to the aircraft they will replace,” Gary Seddon, Acting Chief Executive Officer of Air Niugini said.
Air Niugini’s plans to acquire the jets were first announced in August 2023. The new planes will replace its aging Fokker F70 and F100 aircraft
The A220, which has widest cabin in the 100-150 seat category, will be operated by Air Niugini across its domestic and regional network.
The expectation is that Airbus’ smallest commercial aircraft will enable the carrier to fly from the capital Port Moresby to new destinations across the Asia-Pacific region.
The order was announced at a special event in Port Moresby by Seddon and Anand Stanley, President of Airbus Asia-Pacific, in the presence of the James Marape, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea.
“This is a momentous occasion for Air Niugini. Coinciding with the airline’s 50th Anniversary, Air Niugini secures six new regional jets that will revolutionize travel for the citizens of Papua New Guinea. I am looking forward to welcoming the ‘People’s Balus’ (the people’s plane) to our skies,” Minster Duma said.
Depending on cabin configuration, the A220-100 serves the 100-135 seat market, while the larger A220-300 is perfectly tailored for the 120-150 seat market.
“Air Niugini has seen how much more the A220 brings to their airline than the competing product in this space, so much more efficiency, range, comfort and growth potential. We thank Air Niugini for its confidence in Airbus and are committed to offering our full support to the airline as it transitions to its new fleet,” Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International, said.
Air Niugini also announced that it has selected a flight planning support system from Airbus subsidiary NAVBLUE for its fleet.
Called N-Flight Planning (N-FP), the solution will help the airline optimize fuel, time, and cost to meet operational needs, while ensuring overall safety and compliance.
As of the end of September 2023, Airbus has received over 800 orders from around 30 customers for the A220, of which more than 280 have been delivered. The A220 is already in service with 17 airlines worldwide.