New airline connects Australia, Palau amid service suspensions

May 6, 2024 | Blog, News, Pacific

As Papua New Guinea’s flag carrier Air Niugini suspends its service from Brisbane to Palau via Port Moresby starting May 1, 2024, travellers to the northern Pacific region are set to welcome a new non-stop flight option. The discontinuation of Air Niugini’s route, initially supported by the Australian government’s Pacific Flights Programme, comes after challenges in passenger and freight growth. This service was pivotal in enhancing connectivity between Australia, Papua New Guinea, and Palau but fell short of expectations despite the backing.

In contrast, the introduction of the Palau Paradise Express by Nauru Airlines promises to boost the regional connectivity that is vital for tourism and trade. Scheduled to begin operations this month, this new service will directly connect Brisbane with Palau’s commercial centre, Koror. The initiative, supported by the governments of both Palau and Australia, aims to foster a stronger, more interconnected Pacific region.

Palau President Surangel S Whipps Jr and Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong highlighted the strategic importance of the new route in a joint statement. They emphasised the commitment to sustainable tourism and stronger economic ties through improved air travel options. This service is part of a broader effort by Australia to respond to Pacific leaders’ calls for enhanced regional connections and mobility.

While the suspension of Air Niugini’s service poses a setback for travellers used to the Brisbane-Port Moresby-Palau route, the introduction of direct flights from Brisbane to Koror by Nauru Airlines offers a timely alternative, reflecting the dynamic nature of international air travel and the ongoing adjustments made to better serve the needs of the Pacific islands’ tourism and trade sectors.