PORT MORESBY, PAPUA NEW GUINEA — The Papua New Guinea Government Cabinet is expected to deliberate on Air Niugini's re-fleeting proposal this week, as reported by the Post Courier newspaper. 

The state-owned airline had initially planned to announce a regional jet order last month.
State Enterprises Minister William Duma disclosed that the airline could determine the order's composition once Cabinet approval was secured. Acting CEO Gary Seddon had indicated in April that the state-owned carrier aimed to order 11 regional jets, with the selection narrowed down to the Airbus A220-300 and A220-100, or the Embraer E195-E2.

"There is a toss-up between Embraer and Airbus to replace the narrowbody planes such as the Fokker 70s and Fokker 100s. We are also contemplating buying or leasing some aircraft to service the smaller centres," Duma said.

During Duma's recent visit to Air Niugini's headquarters and engineering facilities, accompanied by Port Moresby-based media, he revealed the airline's request for additional government funding to construct a new hangar at Port Moresby's Jackson International Airport, costing an estimated PGK70 million kina (USD19.8 million). Any decision regarding the hangar's location would follow the National Airport Corporation's decision on the airport's terminal redevelopment and future site. Duma suggested that a new hangar would facilitate Air Niugini in conducting more maintenance in-house.

On the day of Duma's visit, Seddon informed Loop PNG that the airline anticipates the arrival of six additional leased aircraft by September. "Before the new aircraft join our fleet, we will welcome an interim fleet of six, including B737-800s and DHC-8-Q400s, by September 2023," he stated. "Our new aircraft are slated to arrive from 2025. Manufacturer lead times are extended due to challenging global supply issues."

Air Niugini currently operates a diverse fleet, including one B737-800, two B767-300ERs, two Fokker 100s, four Fokker 70s, three DHC-8-300s, two DHC-8-Q200s, and two DHC-8-Q400s. The airline serves 30 destinations in nine countries, including Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Solomon Islands, Palau, the Philippines, and Fiji.