PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Sept. 10) - A review is underway that could see the closing down of control towers and airport fire service operations at a number of airports.

The review is part of cost-saving measures being considered by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in consultation with the airline industry.

Facing huge costs and unable to maintain its current operations, the authority has moved to undertake the review of its entire operations with the view to cutting costs. It is understood the plan is to centralize all air traffic control operations to Jackson’s Airport, Port Moresby, while offloading fire service operations to private operators or town authorities to run and maintain.

CAA Chief Executive Doug Roser confirmed the review yesterday and said a joint committee undertaking the review is expected to submit its report to a meeting of industry representatives and CAA in two weeks. A decision on which services to scale down is to be made after the meeting.

Mr Roser said the review was on all types of services that CAA provides to the industry to ensure savings are achieved without compromising safety.

"We are looking at efficiency without compromising safety,’’ Mr Roser said. "The airline operators, who are the users of these services, are part of the review."

Mr Roser would not discuss further details of the review.

He would not also talk about which airports were likely to lose their control towers.

But sources said Madang, Wewak, Vanimo, Tokua, Mt Hagen, Goroka and Kavieng airports might be among those to be the first to be affected.

The sources said some of the air traffic controllers and fire officers based in those airports may be moved to Jackson’s Airport.

September 11, 2003

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