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Estimates $234 million needed to fix 25 airports

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, February 2, 2009) – Close to PGK600 million [US $234 million] is needed for a complete makeover of the country’s air transport sector, according to Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Don Polye.

The Civil Aviation Authority is working with international donor agencies like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank to secure funding for major projects in the sector.

Once funding is secured, the money, to be spent over 10 years, would see the country’s 25 airports and numerous airstrips being upgraded to meet international civil aviation standards that most are currently lacking. In their current state, many of these facilities should be closed, however, they are still being used, posing a serious threat for users.

Mr. Polye agreed with comments made by CAA chief executive officer Joseph Kintau on the state of airport facilities throughout the country.

Earlier this week, Mr Kintau had complained through the media over the appalling state of the country’s aviation sector and how numerous attempts by his management to obtain funding had failed.

But, while agreeing with Mr. Kintau, Mr Polye also warned that real development would only come about through a concerted effort from everyone, especially educated Papua New Guineans who were in charge of organisations.

Currently, only seven of the country’s 25 airports were certified, meeting international civil aviation organisation criteria.

Work is ongoing on getting the rest certified, and Mr Polye believed this could be achieved a lot sooner when funding was secured from international lenders.


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