Air Niugini (PX, Port Moresby) was forced to cancel its domestic flights on December 1 due to a fuel shortage caused by an ongoing dispute between fuel supplier Puma Energy and the Bank of Papua New Guinea (PNG).

As a result of the dispute, Puma Energy decided to restrict the supply of Jet A1 fuel to Port Moresby and all other airports in PNG from December 1, 2022. “Unfortunately, there is no alternative supplier of aviation fuel in most airports, including Port Moresby, ” the airline said in a statement.

Consequently, Air Niugini had cancelled remaining domestic flights for December 1, was axing half its domestic schedule for December 2 and would have to continue cutting flights daily until Puma Energy lifted the fuel restriction.

Fellow domestic carrier PNG Air (CG, Port Moresby) made no announcement and did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

International flights into PNG are unaffected. “Puma Energy has advised that they will continue to refuel international flights as normal,” Air Niugini advised. This means that international flights by Qantas (QF, Sydney Kingsford Smith) from Australia and Philippine Airlines (PR, Manila Ninoy Aquino International) into Port Moresby were unaffected.

Air Niugini said the situation was out of its control. “We have done everything possible to ensure that this situation did not occur and that we could continue to support the people of Papua New Guinea, especially in this busy Christmas period. We can assure all our customers that we are completely up to date with our payments to Puma Energy, and this regrettable situation is 100% outside the control of Air Niugini. We will continue to work with all concerned to ensure normal operations can resume as quickly as possible”.

ch-aviation has approached Puma Energy for comment.