Papua New Guinea's national carrier Air Niugini will expand its service in the Federated States of Micronesia with the launch of twice-a-week direct flights between Narita and Chuuk in September.
The agreement now enables Air Niugini to uplift passengers between Narita and Chuuk on the way to and from Port Moresby twice a week.
The agreement was signed between Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and his Japanese and FSM counterparts during the 8th Pacific Alliance Leaders Meeting (PALM) in Japan on May 18-19.
Tahawar Durrani, Air Niugini CEO, said there has been an increase in the number of Japanese and Australian tourists and divers, as well as business travelers, using this route since the weekly Port Moresby/Chuuk/Pohnpei service was introduced 18 months ago.
“There is a huge tourism potential to PNG, FSM and the Pacific which all stakeholders must continue to work hard to tap into and increase the volume of Japanese and long-haul travelers to the region,” Durrani said.
FSM President Peter Christian thanked Air Niugini and the government of PNG for providing the air service, assuring of his government’s continued support.
“The reception in FSM has been very positive since Air Niugini started services last year, it has made travel easier for tourists, divers, fishermen and also the local people to travel between Chuuk and Pohnpei as well as FSM and other parts of Asia, Australia and the Pacific via Port Moresby,” Christian said.
Air Niugini launched flights to FSM on Dec. 6, 2016 with two weekly flights. It has since been operating one frequency on a Port Moresby-Chuuk-Pohnpei routing and a second frequency on a Port-Moresby-Pohnpei-Chuuk-Port Moresby routing, both using Fokker 70 regional jets.