National airline Air Niugini is set to commence bi-weekly flights to Townsville in the Australian state of Queensland from March 2017. The move strengthens Port Moresby’s Jacksons International Airport status as a regional aviation hub.
Air Niugini will commence direct flights between Port Moresby and Townsville, the largest city in Northern Queensland in March 2017.
‘The step will enhance the growth of the Jacksons Airport hub,’ noted Air Niugini Chairman Sir Frederick Reiher in a statement. ‘Travellers from Townsville, and the surrounding areas, will be able to connect to our services to major destinations, including Singapore, Manila, Hong Kong and Narita and, soon, Shanghai.’
‘Townsville Airport sees this as the beginning of a much stronger relationship between our region and PNG,’ Townsville Airport chief operating officer Kevin Gill told the Townsville Bulletin.
‘The service will provide opportunities across a range of sectors including health, education, business, mining, defence and tourism.’
Townsville Airport services a catchment of 250,000 people, which is projected to triple by 2030. Townsville has an existing sister city relationship with Port Moresby.
The announcement means Air Niugini will fly to four destinations in Australia in 2017: Townsville, Brisbane, Sydney and Cairns. In December 2016, the airline commerced regular flights to the Federated States of Micronesia and it has also flagged an intention to commence flights to Shanghai, China.
Townsville in a nutshell
- Population: 194,000 (2015)
- Gross Regional Product: AUD$11.1 billion (2014/15)
- Industries: tourism, agriculture, mining (incl. mineral processing), healthcare, tropical sciences
- Attractions: Great Barrier Reef, home of Townsville Blackhawks Intrust Super Cup rugby league team
- Key infrastructure: international airport, sea port, rail
- Education: James Cook University, Central Queensland University, Barrier Reef Institute of TAFE