Hevilift PNG is moving to expand its fixed wing aircraft fleet, adding two ATR 42-320s to its fleet to meet growing demand in the PNG resources sector.
One 45-seat ATR has already entered service on routes from the PNG capital, Port Moresby, to the resources island of Lihir, while the second is scheduled to enter service in March.
Group manager sales, marketing and contracts for RAG, Peter Todd, said that the Port Moresby based ATRs will “increase significantly” Hevilift’s transport capabilities between key mining centres in PNG.
“The PNG resources industry is booming, with current projects expanding and new projects beginning,” Todd said.
”Each aircraft offers 25 seats – or 125 per cent – more capacity than what is currently our largest fixed wing aircraft, the 20-seat DHC-6-300 Twin Otter.”
The Regional Aviation Group subsidiary plans to operate the ATR 42s to nine destinations in PNG, with sectors ranging from 30 minutes on the Mt Hagen-Goroka route to two hours, 15 minutes between Port Moresby and Lihir.
The aircraft will also service other locations in PNG, including Buka and Misima Islands, Madang, and Goroka in the highlands. They will also be offered for passenger and freight charters between PNG and Cairns.
In spite of its size, Todd said he was confident that the ATR 42 would still be able to service remote airfields across PNG, which service numerous mining sites.
Thirty ATR aircraft currently operate throughout Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.