First step towards direct flights between Lae and Cairns?


Business people in Morobe Province are hoping a new timetable, which sees Air Niugini flying between Lae and Cairns via Port Moresby, is the first step towards direct flights between Australia and PNG’s second city.

ANLThe move follows recent discussions between the Lae Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and the airline. A total of 10 flights will operate between Lae and Cairns each week from April 2013, while five flights will operate between Cairns and Lae. Passengers will have a layover of about an hour in Port Moresby for customs and passport procedures.

‘The same plane will fly the entire route, and at friendlier times,’ according to Alan McLay, President of the LCCI, who praised the chairman of Air Niugini, Garth McIlwain, for listening to local business people.

But McLay warns the introduction of direct flights will depend on usage. He says the private sector has drawn up plans for an international departure lounge, customs and passport control at Lae’s Nadzab Airport, which the National Airports Corporation has modified and approved. He says the planned building is estimated to cost K350,000 (US$162,000).


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