Minister for Transport and Civil Aviation, Walter Schnaubelt made this clarifications in support of the DCA.
The Minister in a statement said the Department of Transport, NAC, NSPL and CASA PNG did provide their advice in their capacity as members of the negotiating team as it relates to their respective responsibilities in compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and International Maritime Organizations (IMO)’s when delivering certain requirements under the US-PNG DCA.
The PNG AIC has also advised that the DCA does not infringe on the AIC’s function and authority to conduct independent ICAO Annex 13 safety investigations when an accident occurs in PNG territory, regardless of whether it is to US military force or Contractor aircraft operated in PNG under the DCA.
He said the Chicago Convention, by virtue of Article 3 asserts that the Convention applies only to civil aircraft, thus excluding State aircraft.
This presumption extends to the Annexes to the Convention. However, there is no specific exclusion of military aircraft landing at civilian airports. This means that Civil and Military operations at airports in PNG will not pose a problem for civilian operations.
Port Moresby is currently a Civilian and Military use aerodrome. The Agreement provides for access following mutual agreement at the agreed facilities and areas.
The Agreement lists; Lae, Lombrum and Port Moresby.
“These areas have been specifically identified by the PNG Defense Force as they have facilities in these areas such as the PNG Defense Force Air Transport Wing at Jacksons Airport, Murray Barracks, Taurama Barracks, Lancron Naval Base, Igam Barracks in Lae and Lombrum Naval Base in Manus.
“There are also spin-off benefits of building such infrastructure in Port Moresby, Lae and Lombrum that would have a positive economic effect on PNG as a whole.
“Such benefits and positive effects would include creation of jobs, acquisition of assets, possible growth of SME, promotion of local content service provider arrangement, and a requirement for increase in supply in terms of agriculture, fisheries etc,” he said
After gauging further comments from the Department of Transport and the Agencies and Entities under my portfolio, Schnaubelt reaffirm his support to the Marape-Rosso Government’s decision in approving the PNG Defense Force as the Executing Agency for the “Agreement on Defense Cooperation Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea”.
“I am confident that the DCA can be the catalyst for further development of our beloved country, Papua New Guinea.”