Carrier to add Auckland to schedules to meet maintenance deal with aircraft's former operator Air New Zealand

Air Niugini is replacing its single long-haul Airbus A310-300 with a Boeing 767-300ER on lease from Ansett Worldwide.

The lease is an interim measure until Air Niugini finalises plans for a new long-term fleet strategy, which are due to be presented to its board in September.

The former Air New Zealand (ANZ) 767 is due to enter service this week on weekly services from Air Niugini's Port Moresby base to Philippines capital Manila; Tokyo Narita and Cairns, Australia, and twice weekly to Sydney/Brisbane and Singapore. Auckland will also be introduced as a weekly destination to meet an Air Niugini commitment to have ANZ conduct all maintenance for at least the first 12 months of operation.

The A310 is expected to be returned to its owners - leasing company GATX, according to the Airclaims CASE database - after which it will undergo freighter conversion and join FedEx Express.

The 767 will keep its New Zealand registration for at least a year, flying under ANZ's air operator certificate and the supervision of ANZ's chief pilot.

The arrangement is expected to involve codeshare deals with ANZ and Qantas. The airline had codeshared with Qantas on Port Moresby services, but these will now be flown by Air Niugini so Qantas can redeploy capacity domestically.

Source: Flight International