The National, Tuesday June 25th, 2013
By GYNNIE KERO
A US$640 million (K1.4 billion) programme approved in 2009 will strengthen aviation safety services in Papua New Guinea, Asian Development Bank (ADB) says.
According to ADB, the civil aviation development investment programme (CADIP) is targeting sweeping upgrades to 21 national airports that serve more than three million people .
The programme will also strengthen the safety, accessibility and reliability of air services and is expected to open up new economic opportunities.
National Airports Corporation (NAC) managing director and chief executive Joseph Kintau said under CADIP, the first batch of the programme has been completed.
“We (NAC) are now working on second batch with more focus on safety and security,” he added.
Safe, affordable and reliable air services are critical in Papua New Guinea where geographical difficulties limit road travel, Kintau said.
However, rapidly deteriorating infrastructure caused by accelerated wear and tear due to higher air traffic volumes, use of heavier aircraft and intense weather conditions have left the country’s 21 national airports struggling to meet International Civil Aviation Authority safety and security standards.
Kintau said rehabilitation and upgrades are urgently needed to improve the safety and reliability of flights and to lower costs- factors that will help expand economic opportunities and access to social services, particularly for remote rural communities.
ADB president Takehiko Nakao said: “ADB will fund US$130 million (K284 million), while the PNG Government will provide US$40 million (K87 million) for the second batch of CADIP.”
ADB has provided US$95 million (K207 million) in the first tranche:
- To improve and certify five national airports to meet International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) safety and security standards
- Increase growths in passenger demand from 3% to 5% and in freight demand from 1% to 3% annually; and
- Reduce airport incidents due to safety or security from an average of four per month to two per month.
Already the programme is boosting safety of air services at Port Moresby’s airport with the construction of an extended, separate parking bay for planes at the domestic terminal.
The programme has also purchased three trucks for the airport.