Leaders step up efforts to take airline services to electorates

Business

LINK PNG says some MPs have shown interest in partnering with the airline to operate flights to airstrips in their electorates.
Link PNG general manager Bruce Alabaster said there was already a successful partnership with Enga Governor Sir Peter Ipatas and Samarai-Murua MP Davis Steven.
“The airstrip with work progressing at the moment is in Pomio, East New Britain, where we are working to reopen Jacquinot Bay. At the moment it is only available for small aircraft,” Alabaster said.
“We are looking to upgrade that for the Dash-8 and we have had discussions with Western and also up in the Sepik for Hayfield. And of course the Attorney-General (Steven) has done a wonderful job of getting Esa’ala opened up for operations.
“There has been interest from MPs and their respective governments.
“There are two steps where it does have to be able to breakeven. Most of the business cases that we have done so far identify that we can at least operate services there at least twice a week. And then obviously the airstrip has to be capable of handling the Dash-8.
“So long as it can provide a service at a breakeven point, or alternatively the Member can provide a subsidy, like for an example how for a long time Sir Peter Ipatas has provided a subsidy to ensure that we can have multiple services a week.
“We would welcome discussions with MPs on airstrip developments across the country and to explore opportunities of operating flights there in partnership.”

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