Air Niugini starts flying to Cebu-A A +A
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
AIR Niugini, the regional and national airline of Papua New Guinea (PNG), flew to the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) last Monday.
In his speech after the inaugural direct flight, Dr. Thomas Webster, chairperson of PNG’s Independent Public Business Corp. (IPBC), said Cebu is one market Air Niugini can service and promote.
“Air Niugini must capitalize on Papua New Guinea as a destination and Cebu as business and holiday destinations. It is an opportunity to actually make new arrangements and grow business through expanding into new and exciting territories,” Webster said.
For her part, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said that with Air Niugini, Cebuanos can promote key products like its first-class furniture and engage in trade and commerce with PNG.
“You come on time when we are seeing the road to progress and limitless Cebu potentials,” Garcia said.
“We have first-class furniture and we export several products and there are many more to explore in Cebu such as more concrete ties in tourism, trade and commerce and potential investments between two countries,” Garcia said.
The governor said there are now 4.1 million Cebuanos, some of whom have deep appreciation for PNG for making history in putting up direct flight to Cebu.
Ambassador Bienvenido Tejano, ambassador of the Philippines to PNG, said that with Air Niugini, they can promote medical tourism and Papua New Guinea residents can undergo medical treatment in Cebu while on vacation.
Tejano, who hails from Samar Province, played a big role in convincing Air Niugini to fly to Cebu and Manila regularly.
Air Niugini chief executive officer Wasantha Kumanasiri said they will fly twice a week to Cebu: every Tuesday and Thursday.
Kumanasiri said that the Air Niugini board decided to put up direct flights based on the result of a feasibility study and audits of Mactan airport.
MCIA general manager Paul Villarete said that before the airline came in, there was a lot of audit to make sure that the new direct route is feasible.
“I can assure Air Niugini officials that Mactan airport is the safest airport in the country with ISO (International Organization for Standardization) certificate of compliance” Villarete said.
Villarete said that the entry of another foreign airline to Cebu will increase their revenue.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 18, 2012.