PRIME MINISTER Peter O’Neill and his delegation spent a night on Kaua‘i in Hawaii en route home from the United Nations General Assembly.
The island is the home of Captain Christopher Smith, head of the crew that flies the PNG government’s Dassault Falcon 900 EX that Mr O’Neill has promised to sell.
Captain Smith said the group spent the night on island because the plane needed refuelling and his flight crew needed refreshing.
Smith is a part-time pilot for the PNG government, said his mother, Rosemary Smith, standing near the prime minister’s plane parked at Lihu‘e Airport.
“He lives in Colorado with his wife, who is a captain with Frontier Airlines, and their three daughters,” she said.
“But he commutes to New Guinea as the pilot for the prime minister four months of the year.”
Dessie Benson, one of the three flight crew members on the the prime minister’s trip, said the Falcon get is owned by the Papua New Guinea government.
Joining Smith on the flight crew were Kris Randall, a former United Airlines pilot, and Vincent Kipma of New Guinea.
Joi Bonaparte, the Kaua‘i district manager for Air Service Hawaii, said they get corporate jets frequently, but it’s not every day they have the privilege of servicing foreign government dignitaries.
Photo: Capt Christopher Smith displays the flight deck of the Falcon he pilots for the prime minister of Papua New Guinea
Source: The Garden Island, Hawaii, 25 September