“Great news for the new year!” commented Todd Aebischer, Country Director of MAF PNG.
K494,000 of the grant is to provide flight subsidies for travel with MAF to/from destinations within Enga Province and K174,000 is to assist agencies in the delivery of rehabilitation supplies to other earthquake-affected communities.
MAF aircraft serve rural communities with hundreds of life-saving aeromedical retrievals every year, flying over 30,000 passengers, bringing tonnes of produce to market, and carrying relief and development materials to isolated airstrips.
MAF is a not-for-profit whose primary goals are service and community welfare and whose loss-making PNG operation is subsidised with fund-raising by the MAF International group. The BNL grant will enable flights in some earthquake-affected regions to be subsidised more.
Enga Province travel subsidy
K494,000 from BNL will fund a subsidy scheme to reduce the travel cost for passengers in Enga Province. Currently, MAF serves remote communities at Hewa, Iropena, Kairik, Kompiam, Labalama, Maramuni, Megau, Pyarulama, Rum, Yenkisa, and Yifki and Wapenamanda.
From February 2019 the BNL subsidy will be reflected in MAF’s fares to and from Engan airstrips. All of MAF’s other concession rates will continue to apply (eg school student and child concessions).
Earthquake Restoration Flights
The devastating effects of the February 2018 earthquake in the border regions between Western Province, Southern Highlands Province and Hela Province are still being felt and communities who lack viable overland transport options suffer most with delay in rehabilitation efforts.
A BNL grant of K174,000 is being used to support the rehabilitation and rebuilding efforts, providing subsidised airfares to transport supplies to communities in the affected areas to enable them to rebuild following the earthquake.