Papua New Guinea
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By Tamara Agavi

Celebrating a remarkable 50 years of their golden anniversary this year, Air Niugini, also fondly known as the national flag Carrier of Papua New Guinea, is a beacon of home whilst on foreign land.

Ask any Papua New Guinean who have travelled overseas and back and their initial response to seeing the PNG emblem at the tail end of the plane is that they have a sense melancholy of their homeland, Papua New Guinea.     

The airline is also a symbol of Papua New Guinea’s striving for progress in the transport sector especially in aviation over the years.

 The birthing of the new airline came about in September of 1972 when Papua New Guinea was under colonial rule. Prior to having our own airline, our skies were dominated by Australian aeroplanes.

Our government was given a 60% stake holder in the new airline with rest of the percentage given to other stakeholders.

The first flight was in 1973, taking over established domestic routes and further creating more accessible routes to locals and overseas globetrotters.

In the first year of flying throughout the country, Air Niugini boarded 350,000 passengers. By independence more aircraft were added to the already growing fleet, bringing the total number of aircrafts to ten.

Over the years, Air Nuigini has reached and exceeded many of its targets. From March 1976 to 1980 saw a period of expansion when Brian Grey captained and oversaw the operations. New international destinations as the Asian gateway was opened at the same time, plans were also made for new airport facilities at Jacksons Airport in Port Moresby.

In 1980 Joseph Tauvasa, was appointed the first Papua New Guinean to the general manager role and from then on, saw an expansion and growth sprout.

Over the next years Air Niugini continue to be the only commercial airline in the country, providing employment to many Papua New Guineans as well as being the only flag carrier airline to the international community. After 50 years of operation in one of the most environmentally and geographically challenging country in the world, Air Niugini still plays an important role in the economy and transport needs of the people of Papua New Guinea.

With road transport a hassle due to the non-existent road links to connect the country, Air Niugini still continues to provide a vital service to the people of Papua New Guinea and also help to booster other sectors of the economy as well.

Today, Air Nuigini provides daily routes to all main provincial centres in the country and strives to be the leader in the Aviation industry.

Congratulations Air Niugini for reaching a milestone and happy 50th Anniversary!