Wewak flights suspended

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday, June 7th 2011

ALL Air Niugini flights into Wewak were suspended yesterday after an argument outside the airport spilled over, with locals throwing rocks and others missiles onto the runway.
Provincial police commander Vincent Pokas said all flights to Wewak yesterday were cancelled because of the build-up of stones and sticks on the tarmac.
He said the objects were a safety risk for aircraft and the passengers in them.
Pokas said there was an argument outside the airport between local people and a resident near the airport.
He said a fight broke out and opportunists took advantage of the situation to hurl rocks and sticks into the airport.
There were reports of opportunist tampering with lights at the runway but the Civil Aviation office in Wewak could not be reached for comments yesterday.
The Air Niugini office in Wewak could not be reached for comments but Pokas said the service would remain closed until a risk management team arrived from Port Moresby and cleared the airport.
Pokas said those who were responsible for instigating the trouble at the airport were known to police and would be arrested and charged under the Civil Aviation Act.
East Sepik National Alliance branch president Henry Takombe has condemned the action of the minority for crippling the airline’s services to the province.
He said the cancellation of flights would affect the travelling public and paint a bad impression of the people of East Sepik.
Takombe called for opportunists to respect such vital services.