PNG RISKS LOSING AIR SERVICE OVER LAX EFFORTS

Editorial

19 plane crashes not invetigated

PNG Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (April 4, 2008) – Papua New Guinea faces a major disaster, a threat from outside. And it’s all our own fault!

Our air links to the rest of the world are at risk.

International civil aviation authorities are to visit us next month and if they are not satisfied with our accounting for airline crashes, they can pull the plug on our flights to and from other countries.

This is the dilemma facing us and it could all fall apart in the next month or two.

Our exclusive report today shows Transport authorities have been begging the Government for money to avoid this disaster but no answers have been received.

All Transport needs is a bit more than PGK2 million [US$750,498] to send investigators to the sites of 19 plane crashes that have piled up for the past seven years.

Without that commitment, Transport has been staving off action by the international body year after year.

Now, the time of reckoning is near.

We have less than a month to show the International Civil Aviation Organisation that we are serious about accounting for our plane crashes and that we are keeping our standards up to the mark, internationally.

Not only is it a matter of keeping world authorities happy with our aviation standards, it is an issue of keeping bereaved relatives of victims of those plane crashes satisfied that all has been done to investigate.

For many, insurance payouts of compensation have been kept hanging. Insurance companies are notoriously reluctant to dish out payments unless they are satisfied with the findings of fault with accidents.

Their stockholders ensure that they do not drop their standards and that they only pay out once the causes of the accidents are verified and responsibility laid where it belongs.

Internationally, Papua New Guinea could be cut off.

How would our leaders like it if they were unable to travel to any other country in the world? What if they fell ill and wanted to fly to Brisbane or Kuala Lumpur or other centre for expert medical attention, as is commonly done?

If the ICAO barred our international flights, where would we be?

We would find our borders closed, in effect, like a Zimbabwe, without having a Robert Mugabe to blame.

All for the want of K2.3 million to satisfy international standards and to enable grieving relatives to get their compensation payments. Can one of the MPs slice K2.3 million of the K10 million district grant and sort it out immediately?

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