New Goroka airport terminal will open: Minister

The new terminal at the Goroka airport will now be opened to passengers to use at the end of this month.

The facility was officially opened in May.

Civil Aviation Minister, Alfred Manasseh, confirmed this today in Parliament when asked by Goroka MP Henry Ame to explain the delay.

Ame raised this concern after finding out from the staff of Air Niugini in Goroka that the high cost of rental from the National Civil Aviation Authority has been stopping them from moving to the new building.

He said the terminal had already been officially opened but yet to be used, jokingly saying the mosquitoes and other insects might already be occupying the building.

“My people have been waiting patiently to use the new terminal,” Ame stated.

“What I discovered was that the rental on the new terminal is K200,000 per month, which is stopping Air Niugini and others to move in.”

However, Civil Aviation Minister Manasseh said the rentals were imposed because those infrastructure were built using loan facilities by the Government through its Civil Aviation Development Investment Program.

“I have instructed Air Niugini to move into the new terminal by the end of this month.”

He added that the Government will be upgrading all the airports around the country and Madang airport will be the next to be upgraded.

Meantime, East Sepik Governor Allan Bird also raised the same issue and asked the Minister for Civil Aviation to assure the people in the country that any loans the Government will take in future will not be as expensive that it might be a burden to the people through taxes.

He said our people must be prioritised and should not be burdened with excessive taxes.

The Minister’s response did not go down well with Madang MP Bryan Kramer.

He was concerned about the high cost of airfares imposed on the traveling public within the country, and raised this in parliament today.

His question was a supplementary, where he asked Manasseh to explain the logic in his statement “with more borrowings by the government, it will reduce the cost of airfares”.

He elaborated that his last trip from Lae to Madang cost him K600 for a flight that was only 200 kilometres.

Minister Manasseh said civil aviation deals with experienced experts and always goes for the best to construct airport runways and terminal and to do that, the cost is very high.

(Loop filepic)

Freddy Mou