AMONG women entrepreneurs from around the Pacific region who met in Fiji last week was business woman Ruth Undi from Papua New Guinea’s resource rich area of Ialibu in the Southern Highlands.
Ruth, 42 likes to call herself a ‘grassroots’ mother and she is the first Papua New Guinean woman to own and operate an aviation company, Niugini Aviation, which has a fleet of three planes.
With no aviation background, Ruth bought her first plane in 2011 because she saw the need to service the remote areas not accessible by road.
“That’s when I bought my first 206 six seater aircraft from the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
“The plane was used to transport medical supplies to remote areas. Mining companies also hire the plane for private charters,” Undi told Pacnews.
“As the demand grew, I approached a contact in New Zealand and bought two more aircraft.
The mother of four doesn’t want to be branded as a trailblazer for women in the aviation industry. She said “she is not there yet.”
Ruth attributes her success to a supporting husband and employees.
“When you employ the right people and properly compensate them, they will perform to the best of their ability. My husband has always been there for me when I was taking the risks, she said.
Ruth has bigger plans for the future – one of which is the upgrade of her fleet to 19-seater Twin Otters to service other parts of PNG. This will mean the upgrade of the airline’s operating license.
Ruth also owns a construction company, Kana Construction, in Port Moresby, while her husband Ron operates an insurance company.
“For me, the sky is the limit. I will tell my story once I have achieved everything that I have dreamt,” Ruth said.