By SERAH LAGDOM
IT IS uneconomical for the people of Chimbu to travel to Goroka, Eastern Highlands, and Mt Hagen, Western Highlands, to catch a flight, says Chimbu Governor Michael Dua.
He said most people flew to Mt Hagen and Goroka and travelled by road to Chimbu which was quite costly. Furthermore, travelling on the Highlands Highway was also risky.
“Currently only third level airlines fly to Kundiawa. Not Air Niugini nor PNG Air, and this has been going on for a few years,” Dua said.
He said the Simbu Provincial Government was ready to support airlines to ensure flights were available again.
“Under my leadership, the Provincial Government will sort out this matter with all concerned agencies of government including businesses and private citizens who have a stake in the airport (land, building and other facilities) to arrive at a collective consensus and immediately have flights again,” Dua said.
The governor said it would be good if the two major airlines have two to three flights to Kundiawa, in a week, which would provide direct service to the people of Kundiawa. “Ground work is complete which includes the tarmac and parameter fencing, the only thing that needs to be completed now is a terminal,” he said.
Dua said according to a meeting, he had with the major airlines operating to Kundiawa Airport, was that the geographical location of the airport made it risky for planes to take off. The aircrafts have to carry less people and five seats must be empty.
He said the provincial government was willing to subsidise those empty seats as it had prioritised other small projects in the province in areas such as;
- Road maintenance;
- Vehicles for schools;
- Three vehicles for police;
- Water supply projects; and,
- Support church projects.