Subsidised air travel for remote Enga

MAF has partnered with Barrick Niugini Ltd to deliver subsidised air transport to remote and isolated people in Enga Province.

Noting the high costs of remote area aviation services, BNL has provided funding to allow for up to a year of significant price reductions for travel to and from the rural airstrips on MAF aircraft within Enga Province. Two months into the year-long subsidy scheme, there has been enthusiastic uptake by the remote communities.

It is intended that the scheme will allow for affordable travel to remote people through reduced fares (for personal and freight carriage) to and from their rural airstrips within the province. The subsidy also provides for travel to and from main centres providing access to hospitals, schools, government services, and general travel to improve living standards. Further, cheaper flight costs are likely to allow greater delivery of development resources into the remote areas.

MAF operates on a non-profit basis, where service and community welfare are MAF’s primary goals. Accordingly, it welcomes and values the partnership of BNL in assisting with service delivery to isolated people.

MAF is recording and measuring the flight activity and will compare the results to previous years' flight operations. It is hoped that the scheme will show greater movement of passengers and freight in the health and education sectors, contributing to an overall increase in development in the Enga Province.

MAF has previously worked in partnership with BNL in responding to the 2018 earthquakes. BNL provided over K1 million to support MAF’s aid, relief and rehabilitation flights into both the Hela and Western Provinces.

This latest funding initiative by BNL will see a similar type of impact and assistance being delivered into Enga.

A recent flight enabled through the subsidy scheme was a medical evacuation for a young boy from Malamaunda who broke his left leg when a wooden beam fell on him. Dr Rebecca Williams, Medical Superintendent for Enga Baptist Health Services at Kompiam District Hospital (shown operating in the picture above) described how he had sustained the injury about 3 days prior to the MAF medevac flight.

He came with his father to Kompiam Hospital where he was sedated, then had his leg pulled straight and set to full length with applied traction. He was in bed for four full weeks before hospital staff removed the traction.

On discharge, he was mobilising well and had no noticeable indications of long-term problems. If he had not have been able to get to the hospital, he could have developed a serious disability with limb shortening or rotation.

This flight is one example of how effective corporate–private partnership can deliver the services our remote communities need. The ability of MAF to cost-effectively provide medical flights certainly bought about positive outcomes for one young boy!

Press release