Flights to Bougainville suspended due to security issues


AIR Niugini flights to and from Buka Airport in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (AROB) have been suspended due to security and safety issues, effective yesterday according to the National Airports Corporation (NAC).
A NAC spokesman confirmed that the closure was a result of law and order issues.
“People are crossing over the run way and have been damaging important airport equipment,” he said.
“There has been little support from the provincial government to address this issue.”
The NAC closure notice is for one month until Sept 12.
Meanwhile, Air Niugini said it previously operated six flights per week to and from Buka Airport (daily except for Sundays) and twice weekly services to and from Aropa Airport in Kieta.
Some flights operated directly between Port Moresby and Buka while others are routed through Rabaul.
Kieta flights continue to operate direct, as well as via Rabaul.
Air Niugini will temporarily increase flights between Port Moresby and Kieta from two to six services per week until the airport at Buka is reopened.
The airline said customers already holding tickets to and from Buka for travel during the airport closure period could use those tickets to travel to and from Kieta at no additional charge.
The airline said it would not be responsible for road travel between Kieta and Buka, or any other additional costs incurred. “Air Niugini regrets the inconvenience caused to our Buka customers,” the airline said in a statement.
“Safety is always paramount in Air Niugini’s operations.”

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