17 Feb 2006

Papua New Guinea airline sacks two senior managers

9:15 am on 17 February 2006

Papua New Guinea's national carrier has terminated the services of two senior expatriate managers, shortly after the unexpected departure of chief executive officer Rod Nelson and chairman Joseph Tauvasa.

The National newspaper reports the general manager of Engineering at Air Niugini Graeme Hills and his purchasing and supply manager, Neil Peterson, were informed of their dismissal on last week.

Acting CEO Wasantha Kumarasiri told the National newspaper the airline needs to be productive and efficient to provide the best services to its customers and performance is paramount.

He says the board and management had recommended that both Mr Hills, who is a New Zealander and the Englishman Mr Peterson be relieved of their positions for business reasons.

Last month, long-serving chairman Mr Tauvasa was replaced by his deputy, Jimmy Tjoeng.

There is speculation that his removal was linked to a politically-slanted article in the airline's in-flight magazine.

At his first meeting as chairman, Mr Tjoeng reportedly announced that he was terminating Mr Nelson's contract.