K120m reworked airport gets PM’s blessing

Port Moresby’s redeveloped international airport was officially opened tonight with predictions it will make PNG a gateway to the Pacific.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill defended the Jacksons Airport expenditure of K120 million, saying he knew there was a minority of critics who claimed too much was being spent on the national capital.

He said there were plans to upgrade airport facilities around the country, to continue the plan to make PNG a modern destination and to create many more jobs for Papua New Guineans.

He highlighted planned improvements for Nadzab Airport, Mt Hagen and Hoskins, among others.

Invited guests were shown through a modern new terminal with up to date facilities.

National Airports Corporation chief executive officer Joseph Tupiri said the 20 months of work by builders, Matrix Corporation and the NAC’s 450 employees and other agencies had set the nation on the path to “giving us access to the best in the business”.

He said IATA had last week approved the Jacksons Airport international airport as a level 2 coordinated airport.

“In the ASEAN century, Papua New Guinea is the economic engine of the Pacific region,’’ he said

“It is geographically strategically located as a gateway between America, Asia and the Pacific, including New Zealand.’’

He spoke of a study of a global air transport routes in 2005, in which it said the Moresby airport “a place totally unknown to most of the world’s travellers, finds itself ranked number 7 of the busiest gateways, in front of such busy places as Frankfurt, Tokyo and Moscow”.

“Manila was 20 and Sydney was 22.’’