Member for South Bougainville, Timothy Masiu, presented a part payment cheque of K100,000 of the total funding component to Air Niugini and NAC on Friday for the installation of Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI)/flight lights at Aropa Airport, Kieta, South Bougainville.
Once these lights are installed, Air Niugini would be able to operate jet aircrafts into Aropa Airport.
This airport is one of the oldest airports in PNG and the busiest because of the Bougainville Copper Mine.
It was during the crisis when the airport and its facilities were tampered with, which later had to be rebuilt.
Masiu said the government, through the leadership of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, rehabilitated the airport and runway and Air Niugini began its services with the Q-400.
Masiu said air services into Bougainville are very important.
“It’s part of the development that is taking place in Bougainville along with education, health facilities being redeveloped and brought up to another level now.”
He said after the crisis, most of the services were received in Buka Island only, which meant that the whole of Bougainville had to travel to Buka to get a plane out.
“For the planes to begin landing again we needed these facilities and as partners in development, it would be in the best interest of the people of South Bougainville to assist.”
Masiu has made another commitment for another K100,000 to be put into the refurbishment of Aropa Airport to help facilitate for the PAPI lights.
National Airports Corporation general manager, Jacob Anga, said it is very encouraging to see especially during this economic time when provincial members come out to help their people.
“It’s good for the people of South and Central Bougainville going forward and as for NAC, as the owners and operators of the airports in PNG, which includes two airports in AROB, we are committed to ensuring the compliance, safety and maintenance of the airport consistently and we can service the people by ensuring that Air Niugini does a safe landing and safe taking off,” Anga said.
Air Niugini general manager for grounds operation, Marco McConnell, said: “Once this gets underway, the jets resume ops back into Bougainville, Aropa Airport. It’ll make it more conducive for business opportunities.”