Air Niugini on January 22, updated its fleet plans amid the 737 MAX global grounding affecting airlines around the world.
Air Niugini has deferred its order for four Boeing 737 MAX aircraft till “at least” 2024 the airline says, giving it more time to assess fleet options.
In fact, although the 737 MAX was set to replace the carrier’s existing 737 and 767 fleet, Air Niugini says it may look to find a suitable replacement for its Fokker fleet as well.
Managing Director at Air Niugini, Alan Milne said: “This delay will give the airline more time to complete a broader review of its fleet plans, including a future replacement type for its smaller Fokker regional jets. This will then determine if the MAX is still appropriate for Air Niugini, or whether other Boeing products would better suit as a replacement for the airline’s existing Fokker, Boeing 737 and 767 aircraft types.”
Air Niugini says that the Embraer E2 would become a possibility once Boeing’s purchase of Embraer’s commercial division is completed.
While ‘Boeing remains a valued and long standing supplier of aircraft to Air Niugini’, the carrier said it may even look to Airbus for replacements marking a change in heart for the Oceanic airline.
Air Niugini placed the order for four Boeing 737 MAX 8s in 2014, attributed to an unidentified customer. In 2016, at the Singapore Air Show, Air Niugini was revealed as the customer behind the orders.