By DALE LUMA
THE Government wants an inquiry conducted into why air fares are so expensive in the country.
Treasury vice-minister Win Daki directed the Independent Consumer Competition Commission (ICCC) to look into why airfares set in the civil aviation industry are so high.
Daki expects the commission to submit a report on the matter by Oct 8.
“I want the ICCC to investigate the NAC (National Airports Corporation), Air Niugini and Airlines PNG (PNG Air) to determine why airfares are set so high,” he said.
“Airfares have only increased over the years. There has not been a time when it has gone down.”
Daki, the minister responsible for the consumer and competition watchdog, said the high airfares were hindering the people’s ability to travel.
It is also affecting the tourism industry.
“There has been a lot of complaints from customers, business houses, and private companies about the high airfares on both domestic and international flights,” he said.
“The demand for tourism in this country is huge but the high airfares are a major impediment.”
Daki plans to table the ICCC report in Parliament once completed to discuss appropriate measures to be taken. He said domestic travel in other countries compared to PNG was cheap.
“From Cairns to Brisbane, we are paying A$75 (K174). Here in PNG, from (Mt) Hagen to Port Moresby is around K700, K800 and sometimes it goes up to K900,” he said.
“From Kimbe to Rabaul, you are looking at around K1,000. For cargo, the price for one kilo is around K20.
“Most people in the country are living with salaries that are below K1,000 and cannot afford these airfares.”
The enquiry will cover the entire aviation industry and will look at ticket prices, cargo and other costs.
By DALE LUMA