Airbus and Air Niugini celebrated the signing of a firm order for six A220-100s, the planemaker said on Wednesday.
The state-owned airline of Papua New Guinea, the company had already confirmed the selection of the Airbus aircraft after holding a competition in which Embraer and the E2 jets also participated.
In addition to the six A220-100s ordered directly from Airbus, Air Niugini also intends to lease two other aircraft of the model and three A220-300s, with greater seating capacity.
“This is a milestone in the history of our national airline that will support the growth of trade and tourism in Papua New Guinea. The new aircraft will offer the highest levels of comfort for our passengers, while also ensuring a significant reduction in fuel consumption and emissions when compared to the aircraft they will replace,” stated Gary Seddon, Acting Chief Executive Officer of Air Niugini.
“This is a momentous occasion for Air Niugini. Coinciding with the airline’s 50th Anniversary, Air Niugini secures six new regional jets that will revolutionize travel for the citizens of Papua New Guinea. I am looking forward to welcoming the ‘People’s Balus’ (the people’s plane) to our skies,” said Minister Duma, from the country’s government.
“Air Niugini has seen how much more the A220 brings to its airline than the competing product in this space, so much more efficiency, range, comfort and growth potential. We thank Air Niugini for its confidence in Airbus and are committed to offering our full support to the airline as it transitions to its new fleet,” said Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International.
Old Fokker 70 and 100
The A220’s unparalleled autonomy was highlighted as one of the aircraft’s advantages. The carrier operates from the country’s capital, Port Moresby, serving several islands in the region, but also long-haul destinations such as Hong Kong, Manila, Singapore and Sydney.
According to Airbus, the A220 will enable non-stop connections to Auckland and Tokyo. The A220-100 variant can fly up to 3,450 nautical miles (6,390 km) with 100 to 135 passengers on board.
Air Niugini also announced the selection of the N-Flight Planning (N-FP) flight planning system from Airbus subsidiary Navblue.
In August, the airline said it expects to receive the first A220s in 2025, although lease aircraft may be delivered before then.
Air Niugini’s fleet is made up of very old aircraft, including Fokker 70 and 100 jets with almost 30 years in service. The carrier had already recently announced an order for Boeing 787 Dreamliner to replace its two 767-300s.
The A220 family, formerly Bombardier’s C Series, had already received more than 800 orders from 30 customers by September. There are currently almost 300 planes in service with 17 airlines.