Flightwest Airlines of Brisbane is preparing to fly between Australia and Papua New Guinea (PNG), using capacity to be released by Australia's International Air Services Commission (IASC) following agreement late in 1996 on a new Australia/PNG bilateral (Flight International, 6-12 November, 1996).

The IASC says that the Flightwest submission, which "-will be treated as an uncontested application", sought approval for four weekly return flights between Townsville and Port Moresby, using a Fokker F28, Fokker 70, or AI(R) Avro RJ70, with two services extending beyond Port Moresby to Mount Hagen. Later, it wants two extensions to Lae, subject to a new bilateral proposal which is now under consideration.

Flightwest is owned by Sir Dennis Buchanan, previously the owner of PNG's now-defunct third-level operator, Talair. It operates Queensland regional services using a fleet of eight Embraer EMB-120 Brasilias, two Bombardier de Havilland Dash 8s and five Raytheon Beech King Airs. The airline, which has applied for an international airline licence, says that all three types are available, and that it will decide during the 60-day application period.

Port Moresby, PNG-based Milne Bay Air (MBA), meanwhile, says that it will also contest the Townsville-Port Moresby route and will seek other routes, using the new capacity gained by PNG under the bilateral. MBA would use one of its two new Dash 8s, along with four de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otters, as part of its purchase of the assets of Canadian regional carrier NorOntair. MBA has also applied to operate from Cairns to Port Moresby via Gurney, in south-eastern PNG.


Source: Flight International