Airline suspends flights to two more airports

National, Normal

AIRLINES PNG Ltd announced yesterday that it was suspending flights to two more airstrips in Central province.
Last week, the airline and the Australian government announced that they were suspending flights to Efogi, Kagi, Milei and Manari airstrips in the Koiari area.
Yesterday, the airline added Onogue and Fane in the Goilala area to that list.
Airlines PNG said it was concerned about the safety standards of the airstrips.
It said flights to Kokoda, Tapini and Woitape remained unaffected.
The airline also said the heavy wet season in recent times had caused disruptions to flights, and this would go on for the remainder of the month until the weather condition improves.
Meanwhile, Works, Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Don Polye has called on Members of Parliament to allocate money to maintain rural airstrips that support vital health and education services.
Mr Polye said of the K10 million in District Services Improvement Programme funds made available to each MP last year, K4 million was designated for transport infrastructure.
“Some of this money should be set aside for maintenance of rural airstrips, the ones that do not come under the jurisdiction of the Civil Aviation Authority. In the case of Efogi, Kagi, Milei and Manari, the member should use his DSIP funds to maintain these airports.
“The provincial government should also assist,” Mr Polye said.
Mr Polye  said he was concerned that the closure of the airstrips would affect church, schools and health services.
The airstrips are in the Kairuku-Hiri Open electorate whose MP is Paru Aihi.
Airlines PNG and the Australian High Commission announced last week that flights to the airstrips were suspended indefinitely due to safety concerns.