Aviation in Papua New Guinea: a sector profile


A profile of the aviation sector in Papua New Guinea including airports, the regulatory framework and airlines.

Air Niugini is PNG’s national airline. Credit: Air Niugini

Industry snapshot

Given PNG’s challenging topography and geography, aviation plays a critical role in transporting people goods across the country.

The 22 major airports in Papua New Guinea are managed and owned by the National Airports Corporation (NAC), while the Civil Aviation and Safety Authority regulates the industry.

PNG’s main airport and main international airport is Jacksons International Airport in Port Moresby, which has domestic and international terminals.

Other key airports include Lae/Nadzab (PNG’s second-busiest airport), Madang, Tokua (Rabaul), Kargan, Gurney, Wewak and Goroka. Mount Hagen Provincial Airport is recognised as an International Port of Entry because of the mining activities in the Highlands provinces.

PNG’s airports have developed significantly since the Asian Development Bank (ADB) expanded the facilities at Jacksons International Airport in preparation for the 2015 Pacific Games under its Civil Aviation Development Investment Program.

The ADB is planning to undertake a US$600 million (K2 billion) project to further upgrade many of PNG’s airports, including Jacksons International Airport. The intention is to lengthen the runways of several airports to allow Boeing 737s.

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The NAC is pursuing commercial development opportunities at Lae Nadzab Airport, as part of ongoing upgrades. In the 2019 National Budget, K90 million was allocated for provincial airport redevelopment and K75 million for the redevelopment of Lae’s Nadzab airport.

There are plans to redevelop other rural airstrips.

Major players

PNG’s national airline is Air Niugini Limited (ANL), a state-owned enterprise held under the auspices of Kumul Consolidated Holdings (formerly the IPBC).

ANL and its low-cost subsidiary Link PNG provide the bulk of the country’s domestic air services. ANL also has a codeshare arrangement with Australian carrier Qantas.

Internationally, ANL flies to several major international airports, including those in Sydney, Singapore, Manila, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Honiara, Brisbane, Bali, Suva and Kuala Lumpur.

The subsidiary Link PNG was created in 2014 to meet ANL’s community service obligations to remote and distant communities.

Air Niugini’s main competitor in the domestic market is PNGX-listed PNG Air (formerly known as Airlines PNG until the company rebranded during 2015). PNG Air has commenced a new codeshare agreement with Virgin Australia.

Australia’s Qantas flies into PNG from Brisbane and Sydney. Virgin Australia flies from Brisbane, and Philippine Airlines flies from Manila.

In addition, there are several smaller companies offering charter services to the mining and petroleum sectors, tourist and the general business traveller, including Tropicair, Heli Niugini and Hevilift.

Further information

What else would you like to know?

This sector file is a living document created as a service to our subscribers. It is updated from time to time, as new information comes to hand.

Is there something else you’d like to know about this sector? Is there new information we haven’t included? Let us know in the Comment section below, or email editor@businessadvantageinternational.com and we’ll look into it.

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