AIRLINES PNG has started flights to Buka and Kavieng after adding two new aircraft to its fleet in January.

It follows the airline’s investment in a further two Dash 8 aircraft, bringing its total fleet size to 14.

Airlines PNG chief commercial officer Paul Abbot said the new aircraft had enabled the company to expand its network.

“In addition we have introduced new services linking existing ports which have been done in response to customer demand,” he said.

The new services will link passengers from Lae direct to Kokopo, Buka and Kavieng, as well as setting up direct flights from Lae to Alotau.

A new route linking Port Moresby, Kimbe and Madang and another linking Goroka, Lae, Mount Hagen and Tabubil, would also be established.

Airlines PNG CEO Muralee Siva said the new options provided better value.

“We are responding to customer feedback, which strongly asked for services between key ports and improved connections in order to cut down travel time,” Mr Siva said.

The news came as Airlines PNG was named a Silver Standard airline under the Basic Aviation Risk Standards set up by mining companies and the Flight Safety Foundation.

The Standard recognises that the airline has satisfied safety compliance standards for two years.

“We are delighted that our work on our safety programs and internal processes has been recognised,” Mr Siva said.