PNG AIR is looking to introduce direct flights between Mt Hagen and the Indonesian city of Jayapura by mid-2016 – its first international route – according to a company announcement.

Company chief executive Muralee Siva said, if approved, people from Papua New Guinea’s Highlands region would be able to access an international city through a direct flight of almost one hour’s duration, instead of having to go through Port Moresby, as is currently the situation.

“We still need to do a lot of work with the PNG and Indonesian government authorities to make this happen, but we see a direct link between the Highlands and Jayapura as being both a significant development for PNG Air and of great benefit to the people of the Highlands,” he said.

“Jayapura then offers better connections to the rest of Indonesia, and from there provides many alternative ways to get to other international destinations via Jakarta.”

“Regional international routes such as Mt Hagen/Jayapura are a growing market, and PNG Air is in a strong position to service that market with our fleet of Dash 8s and brand new ATR 72-600s, and the network of connections we offer throughout PNG,” said Mr Siva.

Air PNG’s ATR planes fly directly to Gurney (Alotau), Girua (Popondetta) Madang, Nadzab (Lae) Kagamuaga (Mt Hagen) and Boram (Wewak) from Port Moresby. It also does overnights in Londolovit (Lihir).

The Airline also launched twice weekly services to Vanimo in December, 2015, as an extension of its service between Lae, Madang and Wewak, flying into Vanimo on a Wednesday and Saturday.

PNG Air chief commerical officer Paul Abbot said outbound services would offer connections to Kimbe and Kokopo.