Governor calls for reopening of Tari airport

Hela Governor Philip Undialu is calling on the National Airport Corporation (NAC) to reopen the Tari airport in Hela.

Undialu said the Tari airport has made a lot of money for NAC during the PNG LNG Project construction and should not be punished for an incident that they are not responsible for, with respect to the Mendi incident.

Governor Undialu in a statement said for almost three months since the closure of Tari airport, the people of Hela have suffered and have risked their safety by travelling on the highway to Mt Hagen, just to get on a plane.

He said to date, NAC, Air Niugini and PNG Air have not informed the leaders of Hela with regard to the resumption of flights and reopening of airport.

He added that the Provincial Government has committed in maintaining the airport and has spent more than K200,000 on JET A1 fuel for assessments by NAC officials to certify the airport’s safe landings.

Governor Undialu said the airport is the only asset that enabled people to travel in and out of Tari and allows services to flow.

Meantime, Undialu has condemned those people in Hela who continue to damage the good reputation of people and especially those that destroyed the airport fence.

“I cannot ask for reopening when certain few are destroying the fencing.

“It makes sense we must take action to arrest those responsible too.

“Our actions have denied our own rights to basic government services such as the airport facility.

“Bank, hospital and airport are the only key facilities in Hela now. Without that Tari will be a ghost town.”

Freddy Mou