Papua New Guinea's incoming finance minister Roy Yaki has confirmed that the Government is "seriously looking" at privatising Air Niugini, which he describes as being in "a dire financial situation", and surviving on "daily cash takings".

He also confirms reports that the previous PNG Government had "-received a definite offer from a foreign carrier, which appears to be fairly attractive". A local newspaper report suggests that Uni Air, a 51%-owned subsidiary of Taiwan's Eva Air, has offered to purchase up to 60%of the airline.

Air Niugini's fleet consists of nine Fokker F28s, a Bombardier Dash 7, two Dash 8s, and two Airbus A310s which are under-utilised. The company operates a domestic route network, as well as scheduled international services to Cairns, Hong Kong, Manila, Singapore and Sydney. It has also inaugurated a weekly charter to Osaka.

Source: Flight International