Air Transport

When Ansett and Trans Australian Airlines ceased operating to and within Papua New Guinea with the coming of Independence, the country's own airline — Air Nuigini, took ovfer with its own fleet of aircraft.

Essentially the fleet is operated by Qantas Airlines (Australia's International Airline) with the result being that good connections are possible for flights overseas with direct flights from Port Moresby to Australia and Hong Kong.

Air Nuigini still uses only Australians on the flight deck although occasionally one sees a local officer in the co-pilot's seat of a prop-jet and recently one local pilot gained his captaincy for the Fokker Friendship.

Having a monopoly on all main routes throughout Papua New Guinea, Air Nuigini charges what it likes with the result that it is the second most expensive airline in the world. For example, the flight from Port Moresby to Madang is only about 300 miles for which a one way ticket costs nearly K50 (about $65 Australian), and it must surely be one of the few airlines in the world which charges half fare for a baby in arms.

The smaller airline, Talair, services most of the feeder routes with many other charter companies available to move freight or passengers.

Traditional gaff rigged sailing boats like this are common around the Samarai area where villages depend on sea communication in an area that can be troubled by strong trade-winds.

With the slow spread of roads which have linked only a few centres to date, air transport remains one of Papua New Guinea's main lifelines. Historically it is one of the world's leaders in the use of the aeroplane and although little of an innovative nature occurs nowadays, it remains a very well serviced country.

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