As much as we hate the delayed flights and sometimes bad customer service, Air Niugini is more than just a state entity or an airline.
Many generations of kids grew up in Air Niugini housing. The airline provided a comfortable exit for army pilots leaving military life. It was a launching pad for long illustrious careers for many civilian pilots and engineers.
Of course we’ve had problems over the years.
But getting on a Kumul balus after weeks of travel in sometimes unfamiliar lands and on foreign airlines, is always uniquely comforting.
It’s like finding family so far from home. I can sit back, relax and chat.
“Mi go bek lo ples nau.”
Seeing the Kumul on foreign soil gives you warm fuzzy tingles down your spine. It makes you want to yell and tell everyone around you, “that’s OUR plane!”
Of course, nobody would understand your crazy Papua New Guinean pride inside of you.
We got all the …. happening in the country. PX is struggling like everyone else.
But when you meet a PX crew waiting to board the same plane you saw on the runway, you’re half way home already.
Large group of Papua New Guineans standing at a foreign airport talking and laughing very loudly with members of the flight crew…
…And strangers ask: “Do you know each other?”
“No. But they’re taking us back home on OUR plane.”
Maybe that’s why a crash so far from home hurts because it is something that belongs to us.