AIR Niugini is taking on the growing competition from Philippine airlines by electing to increase its number of flights to Manila.

Ever since the route from POM to the Philippines opened up, Air Niugini has seen increasing competition from the aggressive Philippine airline companies and it is fighting back by increasing flights to Manila form four to five times a week from December 3, 2016.

The Manila increase follows the recent decision to add an extra direct flight a week to Sydney, with the airline now flying directly to the Australian city three times a week, while from 03rd December the Manila flights will increase from four to five a week. Intending customers are encouraged to book early in order to secure seats and take advantage of our special fares.

Air Niugini chief executive officer, Simon Foo, said the flight increase is due to demand on these routes. He also said that with the development of Port Moresby’s Jackson’s airport as a regional hub, the flight increase would deliver considerable economic benefits for the country, especially the tourism sector.

Air Niugini’s nonstop flights to Sydney take just under four hours and is popular with both business and leisure travellers, saving over three hours travelling time compared to making a connection in Brisbane or Cairns. Flights depart Port Moresby on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, and return from Sydney on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. The additional service to Manila operates on Saturdays.

“We are increasing frequency to provide our business and leisure customers with more flexibility and choice, while at the same time ensuring economic benefits flow to the wider community including the airport service providers, tourism and hospitality sectors,” Mr Foo said.

Air Niugini has also recently increased its flights to Cairns to 15 services a week to meet market demand and seat capacity. All Air Niugini flights to Cairns are operated by Fokker 100 and F70 jets, with up to three flights on the busier days. A proposed code share agreement with Qantas is subject to Australian regulatory approval.