By HELEN TARAWA
THE high-level security operation for Apec 2018 was aptly demonstrated by the Australian jet fighters that flew into Port Moresby as part of preparations to protect the city’s airspace.
Port Moresby today hosts a two-day Transport Ministers meeting, the first lead-up meeting to Apec 2018.
Air Commander Phil Gordon, who led the team of fighter jet pilots, was surprised by how short the trip – about 90 minutes – from Townsville in North Queensland to Port Moresby was.
“It’s my first time arriving in Port Moresby and it is surprisingly close between PNG and Australia,” he said.
“It’s just like taking off and landing in another state in Australia. You really are our close neighbours.”
The FA 18 jets arrived at 9.30am and flew over the city to demonstrate the part they will play in the security operations for Apec.
Transport Minister Wesley Nukunj, who will chair the transport minister’s meeting, said the arrival of the two FA 18s jets “signifies the close cooperation between PNG and Australia”.
Welcoming the members of the Royal Australian Air Force and the Apec Coordination Authority team, Nukunj said it was “a very nice feeling to see the jets here”.
“The people of Australia have been so kind to us in so many ways including this occasion,” he said.
“We are trying to get all the security aspects and the logistics and the policy order surrounding the Apec 2018.
“This is just a preparation to see how far we have come and where we’ve gone wrong or seen any deficiency. And we will go from there.”
Director-general of the Apec Coordination Authority Sir Charles Lepani said PNG and Australia had always had a best treaty.
“As we see these elegant birds fly into our city today, it shows the partnership and the ties that both countries hold,” he said.
“I would like to commend those who have been involved in bringing these birds as part of the security operations.”