Thursday, November 06, 2008

Maiden flight from Papua New Guinea lands at KLIA

KL International Airport (KLIA) now offers connections to Papua New Guinea.

Papua New Guinea national carrier Air Niugini’s inaugural flight from Port Moresby landed at KLIA on Oct 29.

Malaysia: Lajim (in beige suit) welcoming Philemon Embel on his arrival from Air Niugini’s inaugural flight to KLIA. With them are (from left) Wasantha Kumarasiri, Azmi and Papua New Guinea High Commissioner to Malaysia Veali Vagi.

October was an eventful month for Malaysia Airports, as KLIA also welcomed the arrival of SilkAir from Singapore.

Earlier this year, KLIA had welcomed two airlines, Tiger Airways and Jetstar Asia, and tomorrow, it will welcome the maiden flight from Dacca of BestAir from Bangladesh.

Air Niugini currently operates a flight weekly from Port Moresby to KLIA every Wednesday, utilising a 189-seater Boeing 757.

Among the passengers on the inaugural flight were Air Niugini chief executive officer Wasantha Kumarasiri, Treasury Minister Patrick Prualtch, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Philemon Endel and heads of various corporate organisations.

The flight landed at 7.10pm and departed at KLIA at 8.10pm for the return to Port Moresby.

“We are hopeful that with five airlines now making KLIA their preferred destination, more will follow soon,” Malaysia Airports senior general manager (operations) Datuk Azmi Murad said.

He said Air Niugini’s presence would enhance connectivity at KLIA as the airline was the first offering connections from the Pacific island in the Oceania region to Malaysia.

“This is a new market for us and we hope to attract more airlines from the region to fly to Malaysia,” he added.

He said the recently concluded 14th World Route Development Forum that was hosted by Malaysia Airports in Kuala Lumpur – the first time it was held in Asia – would further pave the way for Malaysia Airports to convince new airlines to start flying to Malaysia.

Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Seri Lajim Ukin, in his welcome speech, noted that the air transport relationship between the two countries had started way back in 1973 and expressed the hope that the relationship would grow with this inaugural flight.

“With the liberalisation of Malaysia’s air transport policy, more Malaysian cities will open their skies, especially to airlines from Asean member countries,” he said.

He added that this year, passenger arrivals were expected to increase by 5% over last year’s figure.

Air Niugini CEO Wasantha Kumarasiri said the non-stop Kuala Lumpur service would provide an excellent opportunity to connect passengers from Port Moresby to other Asian destinations and Europe.

Source : STAR
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