By JUNIOR UKAHA
North Coast Aviation based in Morobe has scaled down its operations due to shortage in avgas (aviation gas) to power its planes.
NCA, a third-level airline and which operates out of Nadzab Airport in Morobe, has grounded two of its light aircraft because it has ran out of avgas.
Chief pilot Thomas Keindip said it was a sad day for NCA which had been operating in the country over the last 20 years providing vital air transport services to rural areas.
Keindip said they had to ground their Islander aircraft P2 ISM and P2 SAM which had piston engines and ran on avgas.
“For the last five years avgas was no longer available in PNG and we have been sourcing it from Poland,” Keindip said.
“Australasian countries are not producing avgas anymore, so we are sourcing it from half-way around the world to continue with our bush operations,” he said.
“We cannot continue to provide air services into the bus without avgas,” Keindip said.
“They go into places were other aircrafts do not go and people benefit from this service,”
Keindip said NCA still used the aircraft because they flew into remote locations and could make quick stops and take-offs on small airstrips.
“Our main markets are right in the bushes,” Keindip said.
“I appeal to the government to help resolve this issue so we can continue to help our people.”
Keindip said NCA was losing between K15,000 and K20,000 per day as a result of grounding two planes.
He said they served about 60 rural airstrips and operated in Morobe, Madang, Eastern Highlands, East Sepik, West Sepik, Northern and Gulf.
Bulolo MP Sam Basil said more than 100,000 people in his district were affected due to the scaling down of the air services.
Basil said places like Garaina, Bapi, Omura, Pekadu, Kira and Kaintiba, who relied heavily on air transport, had been adversely affected.
By JUNIOR UKAHA