Air Niugini posts dramatic turnaround under new leadership

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March 05, 2020
air niugini
Air Niugini managing director Alan Milne.

Air Niugini has capped off a record-breaking year by posting a profit off the back of a K133 million (AUD$56 million) turnaround.

The profit for the year ending 2019 is a turning point for the airline as it undertook a massive transformation.

Although the operating profit is only K500,000, the achievement is remarkable given the loss of K133 million for the previous financial year.

The transformation has been attributed to a number of significant initiatives including the Higher Altitude program that reviewed the business’ cost control, revenue opportunities, customer service improvements and operations.

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The Higher Altitude program – implemented by Managing Director Alan Milne soon after his appointment – contributed more than K20 million savings in the first three months of being implemented.

There was also an internal organisational restructure, a review of management systems as well as an overhaul of operations including cancelling unviable international routes to Bali and Townsville while reducing the number of flight frequencies to other destinations.

Mr Milne attributed the result to the entire team delivering to its Higher Altitude program.

“Air Niugini is a good airline but as a team we want to make this a great airline. I think this result is a huge step in that direction,” Mr Milne said.

“This result is genuinely a team effort from everyone, from the baggage handlers to the cabin crew, to the engineers to the executive team and the Board of Directors. Air Niugini is an airline the people of PNG can be proud of.”

Air Niugini Chairman Sir Kostas G. Constantinou, OBE said the board of directors are pleased with this business result.

“With the Board’s approval and support, management has been encouraged to implement a business restructure program. The Higher Altitudes’ results represent the commencement of these efforts, which will deliver positive results for both Air Niugini and Papua New Guinea as a whole.

“The 2019 result is a significant turnaround achievement for the airline, which enables us to continue offering an exceptional service experience for our PNG customers and international travellers,” Sir Constantinou said.

Beyond the business result, another shift helping the airline’s success is the culture of Air Niugini.

Mr Milne says there has been a focus on customer experience from booking your flight right through to the exceptional service our passengers receive during a flight.

Despite the positive result, Mr Milne says there is still a lot of work to do for the airline to grow stronger; particularly as the coronavirus continues to have a huge impact on all travel-related industries across the globe.

Mr Milne predicts that the airline industry may continue to experience challenges particularly during this uncertain economic climate.

“We are currently faced with many global challenges, including the immediate impact that coronavirus has on travel. However, we remain confident that this will stabilise throughout the year,” Mr Milne said.