Airport network vital: Airline

Business

By JACKLYN SIRIAS
IMPROVED airport network in the country connecting small towns will boost the economy in rural areas, Link PNG general manager Bruce Alabaster says.
He told The National in reference to the government’s policy on providing quality air transport, that it was critical not only for travelling purposes but for attracting investment opportunities and to help build small to medium enterprises in rural communities.
“Link PNG, a subsidiary of Air Niugini, is strongly orientated towards assisting regional communities. And this especially includes working with SMEs in these areas to enable them to get market access. We lift a lot of vegetables out of Wapenamanda, Tari and Mt Hagen to bring back to Port Moresby for sale here or to be exported to other Pacific island states,” he said.
“These often include volume discounts to allow the SMEs to grow their businesses.”
According to the National Transport Strategy Volume one, one of the two most important underlying determinants of transport demands is economic growth.
In this case, Alabaster said the current rural airports were limited to smaller aircraft.
“Consequently, the cost per kilo of cargo is much higher than on bigger aircraft such as the DHC-8.
“We are therefore also working with a number of governments to extend our networks to additional airports,” he said. He said it would enable the towns to get access – for business people and goods – direct to key markets.
“A good example of this is the work Link PNG is doing to assist with the upgrade of Jacquinot Bay which has an expanding Oil Palm development in New Britain,” Alabaster said.

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