The reception was overwhelming as people cheered and clapped their hands at the airport tarmac to witness the ground breaking ceremony after the airport was closed in June this year following a civil unrest that saw the burning of a Dash 8 Air Niugini aircraft.
The Mendi Airport Upgrade project was launched by Minister for Civil Aviation and Kandep MP Alfred Manase, and Member for Mendi-Munihu and Works & Implementation Minister, Michael Nali.
Minister Manase told the over 2,000 people that work on the upgrade of the airport will commence without delay.
Manase said the government policy to upgrade many of our airports around the country was valued at K1.6 billion.
This CADIP program, funded by the Asian Development Bank, has seen great transformation around the country, including the airports of Mendi, Tari and Wapenamanda, which have been placed in the last batch of this program.
Minister for Works & Implementation, Nali, thanked National Airports Corporation, the implementing agency under the Civil Aviation Authority and indicated that a good urban road will be constructed from Magani to the airport to give a facelift in Mendi town Central Business District.
Mr Nali urged his constituency to change their mindset and start respecting state property and look after the services.
A Mendi Airport landowner, John Nandape, said his people support the upgrading of the airport but they want to be partners in the project such as subcontracting for small business and employment for individuals.
(Third from left is Works Minister Michael Nali with Civil Aviation Minister Alfred Manase and delegates lining up for the ground breaking ceremony of the K27m Mendi Airport Upgrade)