National airline restricts flights to two centres

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday June 25th, 2013

 NATIONAL carrier Air Niugini says flights to Popondetta, Northern, and Goroka, Eastern Highlands, have been restricted for the next couple of days because of runway problems. 

“Until work on airport runways are complete, only Air Niugini’s Dash 8 aircraft will be operating to Girua and Goroka airports,” the airline said in statement. 

“Q400 aircraft should re-commence operations into Goroka on Sunday, July 14, while Girua airport operation is yet to be advised. 

“Air Niugini regrets the inconvenience caused. The issue is beyond the airline’s control. 

“Safety is always of paramount importance in Air Niugini’s operations,” the statement said.

Security and safety issues pertaining to aerodromes in PNG has been raised a number of times in the past with a confidential brief stating that several airports might be closed to air traffic because of  the National Airports Corporation’s “inability to provide adequate resources to maintain the numerous airport safety and security systems”.

Among the most urgent issues raised were the following:

  • Numerous infringements by overgrowth of trees and vegetation or permanent (manmade) structures within the aerodrome transitional, approach and splay surfaces, which causes obstructions to safe aircraft operations;
  • Non-maintenance of runway, taxiway and apron visual guidance (paint) markings in most aerodromes;
  • Numerous failures of runway, taxiway and apron pavement surfaces at most aerodromes in the country;
  • Frequent trespasses into operational areas of the aerodrome thus interference with aircraft movement;
  • Reduction in airport rescue fire fighting category at major airports due to lack of manpower and resources;
  • Frequent break-down with standby power generators that support critical airport safety and security functions; and
  • Total lack of recurrent and currency training for existing personnel performing key safety and security functions.