Airlines refuse to use unsafe airstrip

National, Normal

The National, Friday October 11th, 2013


AIRLINES have suspended flights to and from Simberigi because of the poor state of its only airstrip.

Simberigi is in the Kagua- Erave electorate, Southern Highlands, and borders Gulf. The only form of transport they rely on is by air.

Simberigi contributes to the development of the Gobe Oil Fields, which the State and Chevron Niugini and now Oil Search have, and are benefiting from.

Concerned Simberigi local Tom Wambe said the airstrip had not been maintained or upgraded.

“I can remember that it was once maintained with  K300,000 from the Gobe Oil tax credit scheme. Labour was provided by the locals in late 2001,” he said.

“The airstrip deteriorated after two years of service and commercial aircraft refused to use the airstrip, claiming that it was unsafe for them.”

He said he made an arrangement with Airlines PNG and the company agreed to fly there on their route to Mt Hagen via Kerema and Kikori and back but there was a risk.