PNG COURT DENIES REQUEST TO RELEASE AIRPLANE

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By Dominic Krau

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Oct. 22) –The Papua New Guinea Court in Waigani yesterday rejected an application by Tasman Australia Airlines to have its Cessna aircraft, currently impounded at the Tokua airport in Kokopo, released.

The aircraft was detained after making an unauthorized landing at the decommissioned Aropa airstrip in Bougainville two weeks ago.

Civil Aviation Authority director Andrew Ogil charged Tasman Australia Airlines, its owner Andrew James Reid who directed the flight and landing and pilot Peter Alfred McGee for breaching PNG immigration and aviation rules.

The airline company had applied to the National Court last week, seeking orders to nullify Mr Ogil's detention notice for the release of the aircraft pending determination of the appeal.

But the court held there appeared to be a prima facie case of breaches of the law.

The court also held that the breaches were also criminal in nature so it could not interfere in the process by granting the orders sought in the absence of a demonstration by the airline that Mr Ogil acted erroneously and without authority.

Meanwhile, Mr Reid and McGee will appear in the Waigani District Court today on charges of operating an aircraft in a careless manner and being engaged in dangerous activity involving an aircraft.

Tasman Australian Airlines has also been charged with operating an aircraft in a careless manner and causing or permitting an aircraft to be used in a manner that caused unnecessary danger to persons and property.

October 25, 2004

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

 

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