Air Niugini’s Dominic Kaumu explains ongoing flight delays, says there’s a pilot shortage

Mr. Dominic Kaumu is the General Manager, Customers & Markets.

01-airniugini-fokker70-airniugini“The situation yesterday was unfortunate in that we had a number of aircraft that were unserviceable which impacted on the daily operations yesterday. Each aircraft is scheduled to do a number of sectors each day and when a couple of them go unserviceable, it disrupts those sectors for the day. These are not related to pilot issues as many are assuming in their comments. Yes. the airline has a number of resignation a couple of weeks ago and the airline has take steps to recruitment crew to fill this gap.

“It should be noted that there is a general shortage of pilots which is caused largely by Chinese carriers offering very high salaries. As an example, the Friday Post Courier carried an advertisement from Alliance in Australia looking for pilots. This is primarily because they can’t even recruit in Australia or New Zealand due to the general storage.

“The recruitment process for pilots takes up to four months before the pilot can sit in the cockpit. This is due to ground school training as well as SIM training before the pilot can sit it the cockpit for additional training and be endorsed. It is a quite long process. As mentioned, this process has commenced for the airline.

“I also need to make the point that aviation in PNG is primarily restricted to day lights operations which restrict airlines to day flights only. So even when aircrafts become serviceable, the airline can’t launch services due to daylight ops. On our part, we have encouraged the government to upgrade airports to 24 hour operations giving the airlines capability to serve some of our ports after daylight ops. This includes upgrading major airports to B737 aircrafts. Today, our B737 can only operate to Lae and Manus but with restrictions.

“I trust that this information gives insight into some of the challenges in the airline industry.

“I have checked on the operation for this morning and all flights departing as scheduled.”

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