People, in general, may become a bit apprehensive about hopping on Papua New Guineas newsest domestic airline recently, trading name Travel Air, AKA: Mangi Lo Ples. But then again, people flying in PNG, in general have been cautious about what airline they use with the news of last years tragic airplane crash still fresh in their minds. The crash took place on the coast of Madang, taking with it 28 people.
One would probably argue that it wouldn't be fair to make such a general statement given all airlines are different and the nature of operations differ somewhat. As a consumer, though, there is still alot of skeptism.
Well my rating for Mangi Lo Ples was very high. There may not have been any refreshments served on the flight from Madang to Lae, but that didnt matter to me. The flight wasnt that long anyway! What mattered was, the flight took off early and arrived early, giving me heaps of time to do other things, while in Lae. For the business community time is always a factor. Travel Air perhaps has this advantage as it doesnt have a lot of scheduled flights as compared to other airlines, but I anticipate this will soon change. The Madang community is definatley buzzing about the new airline and more and more students are choosing the airline to fly domestically. I met a young women who was on her way to Kiunga via Port Moresby. She would then fly from Madang to Lae to Port Moresby and then onto Kiunga. She was not more than 18 years.
The flight out from Madang was very smooth. Well, people might think that taking off is not the problem, its when landing, there is anticipation that something might go. I agree, but in this case, when the landing gear folds up neartly like it should thats a plus for me. When all the instruments in the plane a doing what they should then thats good enough for me.
That Saturday morning was absolutly glorious, the day was so clear and all the mountains of the Finisterre range were in clear site. We flew over the Astrolabe Bay and were headed for Lae, Morobe province. From the air I recognised the Usino Bundi mountains, Ramu Valley with with its neatly lined palm oil and the cattle grazing fields below.
The flight attendant, after going through all the safety requirements, advised us that the flight would take at least 40 minutes, but we reached our destination in about 30 mins. It perhaps takes 10 minutes to taxi into the terminal. Travel Air had us in Lae by 7.30am. Nice and early and way ahead of time. The staff are friendly, neatly dressed and always attentive.
The airline currently operates 3 Fokker 50 aircrafts and is slowing expanding operations between, Port Moresby, Lae, Madang, Mount Hagen, Kiunga and the New Guinea Islands.
It costs K120 to Lae from Madang one way, relatively cheap. Ideal for the average income earner in Papua New Guinea, given the price of goods and services have risen a great deal. My rating for Mangi Lo Ples 11/10! Great Job you guys and Keep it up