National airline Air Niugini is helping to establish the Jacksons International Airport as a regional hub, according to the company’s Chairman, Sir Frederick Reiher.
According to Reiher, the choice of new routes to China were made with that strategy in mind, reports Business Advantage PNG.
Reiher said Shanghai was chosen as a new destination because it offered the best opportunity for Air Niugini to meet the needs of business passengers and tourists.
“That assessment looked at the unique opportunity to have Port Moresby as a “hub” for travellers to and from China from the Pacific Islands, particularly Melanesia and Micronesia, and North Queensland.
“While our “hub” project targets major airports, as I have mentioned, it will also play a very useful role in providing links for the distant island nations of Melanesia and, increasingly, Micronesia.”
Reiher said the development of Port Moresby as a hub remains a ‘work in progress’ but he believes the signs are positive.
“We are seeing a large increase in the number of passengers connecting between the Pacific Islands and Asia, and between Queensland and Asia and the Pacific Islands,” he said.
Reiher said for the strategy to be effective, the ‘whole industry’ would have to work together: airlines, ground transport, accommodation providers, resorts, government and community leaders, and other stakeholders such as travel agents.
“Papua New Guinea can develop a unique tourism industry, one that will really boost our SME business sectors and employment.
“As the hub develops, and obstacles such as visa requirements and infrastructure, are overcome, I am confident it will be a significant partner in the development of our tourism and travel sectors.