Air Niugini (PX, Port Moresby) has announced it will resume domestic operations on April 6, 2020, becoming the world's first airline to restart scheduled services following a period of COVID-19-caused grounding. Rival domestic carrier PNG Air (CG, Port Moresby) will restart domestic flights the day after.

The Papuan carrier said in a statement that it would continue to uphold safety measures, including limited staffing of its offices. Passengers are also requested to use phone and online contact with the airline as much as possible and avoid paying cash in its offices. Additional health screening will be implemented in provinces bordering Indonesia.

Initially, Air Niugini will operate a reduced schedule and combine flights to multiple destinations into a single rotation.

"The domestic operations will resume but build up to our normal schedule once demand picks up. Hence you will notice that we may combine some services, upgrade equipment on certain sectors, while others may be downgraded," Air Niugini Acting Chief Executive Bruce Alabaster said.

"Although operating schedules are subject to change as per State Of Emergency, PNG Air will continue to ensure we operate in a safe and compliant manner, with numerous protocols in place to prevent any spread of COVID-19," PNG Air said.

The government of Papua New Guinea recently extended the state of emergency through June 30, 2020. Domestic travel is not banned, although residents have been asked to limit their movements as much as possible.

International travel to and from Papua New Guinea remains banned. However, Air Niugini operates services to Brisbane Int'l, Cairns, and Singapore Changi carrying cargo to the island country.

As of April 3, 2020, Papua New Guinea recorded just one confirmed case of COVID-19, no local transmissions, and no deaths from the disease.