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By Cletus Ngaffkin

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (March 10, 1998-Niuswire/The National)---Prime Minister Bill Skate officially opened the new K120 million ($US 66.78 million) domestic and international terminals yesterday at the Jacksons International Airport here, the National reports.

Mr. Skate and Japanese Ambassador Yasuhide Hayashi cut the ribbon to officially open the Japanese-funded project which lifts Jacksons airport facilities to international standards.

In his address to a packed domestic terminal state ministers, parliamentarians, members of the diplomatic corps, senior statesmen and women and other distinguished guests, Mr. Skate said the Government would immediately examine the possibility of setting up an "airport management agency" solely responsible for managing and operating the Port Moresby airport and terminal facilities.

"The agency will be managed and operated on a commercial basis," Mr. Skate said.

The project took more than 13 years to complete, during which time costs escalated and the government met charges associated with the financing due to delays.

"The ultimate total cost to the government was still unclear," he said.

Mr. Skate thanked the people and government of Japan for their continuing support and friendship.

"Clearly, Japan is an important partner and contributor to PNG's growth and development," Mr. Skate said.

Ambassador Hayashi, who provided a brief on the financing aspect of the project by the Japanese Government, said that he believed the international airport would give tourists a good first impression as "Papua New Guinea's new face" and encourage tourism development.

"This opening is to some extent timely, and I do hope that PNG will overcome drought problems as quickly as possible and successfully bring in more tourists from all over the world to this country," Mr. Hayashi said.

The official opening ceremony was colorful with traditional dances from Central, Morobe, Southern Highlands and Manus provinces.

The Police band, a bamboo band from Buka Island, knife-dancers from Mortlock Island, the Pacific Gold Studio band, and students from the Faculty of Creative Arts of the University of PNG entertained the 1,500 plus official guests and the capacity crowd at the opening ceremony.

Title -- 1256 AVIATION: Skate opens K120m new airport Date -- 10 March 1998 Byline -- Cletus Ngaffkin Origin -- Niuswire Source -- The National (PNG), 10/3/98 Copyright -- The National Status -- Unabridged

This document is for educational and personal use only. Recipients should seek permission from the copyright source for reprinting. This service is provided by Journalism Studies, University of Papua New Guinea. Please acknowledge Niuswire:

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