Tokua lacks fire fighting equipment

Islands, Normal


THE Tokua airport in East New Britain province lacks adequate fire fighting equipment which may force airline companies to suspend flights due to safety reasons in the near future.
Adding to this safety concern is the constant water problem being experienced at the airport terminal building and the continuous power blackouts.
Tokua port CAA manager Bill Burua said the last fire truck used for safety aviation rescue in case of emergency at Tokua had been removed to Wewak, leaving nothing for Tokua.
Another fire truck is lying idle at the airport and in needed of urgent repair.
Last Friday, Air Niugini flights in and out of Tokua were temporarily suspended for several hours for safety reasons due to the continuous power blackouts.
A public notice was issued by Air Niugini management stating that it would suspend all flights in and out of Tokua airport because the Civil Aviation Authority had not complied with providing certain basic services.
These included the inconsistent power supply which has affected navigational aids, and no fire fighting services at the airport.
Mr Burua said the power problems would continue until spare parts for the transformer in the airport’s power house was made available.
He said there were no fire tenders since last month when they were directed by the Prime Minister to shift back to Wewak.
However, by 2pm last Friday, Air Niugini Tokua confirmed that flights had resumed.
Mr Burua confirmed that no flights had been downgraded at Tokua during this time and is currently receiving both F100 and Dash 8 aircraft despite the current situation.
Meanwhile, the ENB provincial administration is concerned about this situation and is trying to partner up with the Office of Civil Aviation (OCA) to offload some services at Tokua to the administration so that it could help.
May last year, OCA down played the proposed initiative by the provincial administration to take ownership of Tokua and that their discussions should be held at their level upon consultations.
The ENB provincial government has made its intentions clear that it wanted to support Tokua as it had plans for development on the Tokua corridor beatification programme which had got businesses in the province expressing interest in these plans.
It is understood OCA had announced that funds would be made available soon.
The funds are  to come  from the Asian Development Bank and it has assured that Tokua was included in funds allocation for facility upgrading.