Papua New Guinea's Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC) has dropped the investigation into the partnership between Air Niugini (PX, Port Moresby) and Hevilift (PNG) (Mount Hagen) regarding the wet-lease of a single ATR 42-300(F).

Following an investigation, the ICCC said that the partnership was not anti-competitive. Furthermore, it served to extend the offer to customers. The companies were not competitors previously and their partnership did not amount to a joint venture but was a purely commercial deal, the ICCC concluded.

The companies signed the agreement in August 2018. According to its terms, Air Niugini Cargo wet-leased Hevilift's Avions de Transport RĂ©gional turboprop, P2-KSJ (msn 96), with payments on a per-hour basis. Hevilift continues to operate the freighter for its own needs as well.

The agreement was not exclusive and Air Niugini was allowed to charter freighter capacity from other airlines as well.

Air Niugini phased out its last full-freighter, an ATR 72-200(F), in 2015. The aircraft, msn 198, is currently operated as EI-SLS by ASL Airlines Ireland.

"Cargo transported by Hevilift could not be transported in Air Niugini fleet cargo hauls, unless Air Niugini decided to commission a dedicated freighter similar to that of Hevilift," the ICCC said.

The PNG's carrier currently operates eighteen passenger aircraft: one B737-700, one B737-800, two B767-300(ER)s, seven Fokker 100s, and seven Fokker 70s. Its subsidiary Link PNG operates two Dash 8-200s and five Dash 8-300s.

For its part, Hevilift also operates one ATR42-300, four -500s, five DHC-6-300s, and two -400s as well as various helicopters.