The National, Monday July 8th, 2013
THE National Airports Corporation (NAC) will be fast-tracking the upgrading of Tokua Airport in East New Britain, chief executive officer Joe Kintau said.
Kintau gave the assurance when he met with Deputy Prime Minister and regional member Leo Dion, corporation general manager ground operations, Marco McConnell, provincial administration and chamber of commerce officials late last week.
Kintau assured Dion the NAC would speed up the work on a temporary terminal to allow for immigration functions to be done without causing too much inconvenience to domestic flights in and out of Tokua.
He said in the long-term they would dispatch a technical team to finalise the design for an expansion of the western side of the terminal for permanent immigration and quarantine facilities.
Dion, who has been vocal on upgrading works at Tokua to be fast-tracked, said his intervention was to ensure that Government initiatives and policy directives affecting an important national asset were implemented this year, which has been marked as the year of implementation.
He said there had been too much talk and no work done.
“Upgrading works at the Tokua Airport facilities to cater for international flights has been on the drawing board for some years and this is a concern for me and the prime minister,” Dion said.
He said the decision to upgrade Tokua Airport facilities was made some years ago when he was governor and he was concerned that prolonging the work could result in the project being halted.
Dion said he and the prime minister were gravely concerned that despite assurances by the corporation, it was taking too long for the work to be done.
“There is no need for finger pointing, but surely there is a need for all key stakeholders, including the provincial government, to work together to deliver the result that has been delayed without any good reasons,” he said.
“I commend the CEO for Air Niugini and his team for the initiative that they have taken to forge the partnership with Newcrest and the chamber of commerce to commence and open up opportunities for passengers to book seats on the Newcrest charters on Mondays and Fridays,” Dion said.