Air Niugini has launched its first direct flight between Narita, Japan and Chuuk in the Federated States of Micronesia last week Saturday.
Sixty passengers, mostly Japanese tourists, boarded the first flight out of Narita destined for Chuuk on Saturday night, arriving in Chuuk early Sunday morning. On arrival Chuuk, a further 60 passengers, comprising a large number of divers joined the flight to Port Moresby from where most passengers continued to other Air Niugini destinations in PNG and Australia.
Air Niugini general manager Commercial Services Dominic Kaumu, officiated at the departure ceremony at Narita airport saying the inclusion of the Japan /Chuuk route is a strategic move as it provides an opportunity not only for Japanese divers and visitors, but also for those in Europe and North America to travel to the region.
Kaumu said “This service also feeds our regional network including Honiara in Solomon Islands, Nadi Fiji and Port Vila in Vanuatu as well as destinations in Australia. This flight also provides convenience for the Japanese divers, tourists and even business people from both Japan and FSM to fly direct instead of going via Guam.
“Together with the existing Pohnpei /Chuuk/Port Moresby service, we will continue to provide convenient connections through Port Moresby for business and tourist travellers to various Air Niugini destinations in Papua New Guinea, South East Asia, the Pacific Islands and Australia.”
Air Niugini’s acting chief executive officer Tahawar Durrani said the concept reinforces Air Niugini’s position as a carrier of choice connecting Asia with the Pacific Islands and further enhances Port Moresby as the gateway hub in the region.
“It’s a great concept that further cements our stance of making Port Moresby the gateway hub of the Pacific.
“We therefore encourage more Japanese tourists, divers and other travellers who tend to take shorter stays in either destination, while longer stay visitors from further afield can also take advantage of the opportunity to experience the wonders of both countries in a single trip,” Durrani said.
The Narita/Chuuk/Port Moresby flight operates every Saturday, while the existing weekly scheduled service Port Moresby/Chuuk/Pohnpei remains but now operates on Thursdays and returns via the same route Pohnpei/Chuuk/ Port Moresby on Fridays.