The National,Monday 11th of February, 2013
By ELIZABETH VUVU
CIVIL Aviation Minister Davis Steven has urged provincial governments to help develop initiatives to boost the aviation sector.
He said there was no allocation for provincial airstrips and airports in this year’s national budget.
Steven revealed this last Friday during an inspection of the aerodrome and airport facilities at Tokua in Kokopo and the proposed Vunakanau and Tavilo airstrips in Gazelle, East New Britain.
Tokua has been facing ongoing problems due to ash-fall from Mt Tavurvur and the province identified other alternative sites and was keen to develop these plans.
“There are 22 other airports in PNG that need attention and although Tokua is currently not in the top three lists for priority this year, I came here to East New Britain as I am confident that you will make it
“The money is being rolled out to districts and the challenge now is to take on initiatives.”
Steven said his ministry would be prioritising the issue of developing an alternative airstrip in the province and by next week important discussions would take place among key stakeholders to make it work.
“ENB has the capacity which most provinces do not have and the confidence at Waigani is that it is a province that can move and, therefore we want to move with you as this year is the year of implementation.”
Steven said airports were the face of the country and they must serve and to the expectations of the people and provincial government.
The land identified at Vunakanau and Tavilo are state land but over the years had seen people move in to settle and make gardens.