Australian High Commission
Papua New Guinea

Support for Air Niugini's fleet replacement program

The Honourable William Duma MP, Minister for State Enterprises, joined Australian High Commissioner, Jon Philp, in Canberra on 16 February, at an officials’ letter exchange between PNG’s Kumul Consolidated Holdings and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on support for Air Niugini’s important fleet replacement program.

Minister Duma witnessed Kumul Consolidated Holdings Managing Director, Professor David Kavanamur, and Mr Philp exchange counterpart letters securing Australian technical support for Air Niugini’s fleet replacement program to explore and progress financing options.

Air Niugini’s fleet modernisation program supports the airline’s priority of safety first. The new fleet will improve service delivery, reliability and encourage network expansion and diversity.

Kumul Consolidated Holdings Managing Director, Professor David Kavanamur (left) and Australian High Commissioner, Jon Philp signing the documents.

For its widebody fleet, the airline looks forward to replacing the current Boeing 767s with two new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, to be delivered in 2026. For its narrow body fleet, Air Niugini is transitioning its Fokker fleet to a more efficient modern regional jet replacement.

“The Australian Government recognises the importance of securing Air Niugini’s future fleet as a critical infrastructure solution for PNG,” said Mr Philp.

Air Niugini provides vital domestic and international air passenger and freight transport services across PNG. It is critical that Air Niugini has the tools and resources to deliver this service safely and reliably. 

“The PNG Government fully supports Air Niugini’s program to replace its fleet as it progresses negotiations to secure competitive, appropriate financing solutions,” said Minister Duma. “This program is key to the airline’s financial reform and long‑term viability. This will be the largest and most important transaction in Air Niugini’s 50-year history.”

Fleet replacement is expected to reduce carbon emissions by employing modern aircraft engine technology, optimising flight paths, routes flown, and aircraft types.

“Air Niugini is an important national symbol providing safe, reliable, cost effective air operations,” said Minister Duma. “Given the long history and close relationship between our countries, as well as commitments on critical infrastructure under the PNG-Australia Comprehensive Strategic and Economic Partnership, I welcome cooperation with Australia on this important national service for PNG.”

From left to right; Kumul Consolidated Holdings Managing Director, Professor David Kavanamur, Minister for State Enterprises, William Duma and Australian High Commissioner, Jon Philp after the official signing.

Mr Philp said, “Our assistance builds on the Australian Government’s support to Air Niugini to maintain flights between PNG and Australia through the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Pacific Flights Program supported 283 flights from Sydney and Brisbane to Port Moresby, and also enabled pre-departure COVID-19 screening in conjunction with Air Niugini.”

“Our close collaboration now also extends to working with Air Niugini to introduce the first connections with Palau, flying from Brisbane to Palau via Port Moresby, enabling better people to people links and increased economic activity.”

For further information, including access to related materials, please contact the Australian High Commission media team: +675 7090 0100