Air Transport World

Eye on that bottom line: from basing pilots in less-expensive Australia to operating its Dash 7s as freighters at night, Air Niugini adheres to strict cost control. (company profile)

From basing pilots in less-expensive Australia to operating its Dash 7s as freighters at night Air Niugini adheres to strict cost control.

Port Moresby-Lean and keen might be the two most appropriate adjectives to describe today's Air Niugini. Owned 100% by the government of Papua New Guinea since 1981, much of the airline's 17-year existence has been turbulient. The expansion of operations to southern Japan and Honolulu in the late 1970s proved financially disastrous, bringing scathing criticism down on its management in an ombudsman's report to the government.

But in 1983, Air Niugini entered a period of stability and economic health that continues to this day, despite economic problems that have beset the nation-civil unrest caused the huge copper mine in Bougainville to be closed last year. in discussions with Joseph Tauvasa, chairman of the National Airline Commission and former Air Niugini general manager, and with Dieter Seefeld, who has been the airline's chief executive since 1987, ATW was able to learn how the turnaround was achieved as well as the carrier's future plans.

Strict cost control and adherence to a realistic development program are the pillars of the management policy of Seefeld, who came to Air Niugini with extensive marketing expertise gained while holding managerial positions with Lufthansa in Europe, the U.S. and the Middle East.

48-year-old workaholic

Described by his colleagues as a "workaholic," the 48-year-old GM is in the airline's headquarters at Port Moresby's Jacksons Airport seven days a week, usually arriving before the staff and leaving well after their departure. …

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