Mendi airport tender surprises Awesa

Highlands, Normal

The National,Wednesday 13th of February, 2013

WORKS and Transport Minister Francis Awesa says he is surprised by a K600,000 tender published in the media two weeks ago for the Mendi-Tikiri airport development by the Southern Highlands provincial government.
He said feasibly studies for the airport have been completed but he owed development consultants, Cardno (PNG) Ltd, K1.8 million, which needed to be repaid before construction work began.
“This is something new and if the provincial government is really concerned with the deve­lopment, they must help me
repay the debts first,” Awesa said.
He said that K600,000 was not sufficient for the development of the new airport.
The minister said the landowners of the proposed airport were not happy with the project because they were not involved in the decision-making process.
Awesa said he commissioned the new proposed airport in 2010 to cater for the expansion of Mendi town.
He urged landowners to cooperate with him and the provincial authorities as the development would benefit them.
“If the provincial government is really serious with the project they must make quarterly instalments to finish of the debts and we look forward to the next step and that is the construction of the airport,” he said.
According to recent media reports, Awesa had consulted local and Australian civil aviation authorities about suitable sites for the airport.
The new airport was identified by Cardno and is situated in the larger and wider valley of lower Mendi, five kilometres southeast of the present airport.