5 closed airstrips in the Goilala District are expected to be functional by September this year.

Goilala Member William Samb is confident of this given the efforts put by Rural Airstrips Agency, a company responsible for maintenance and upkeep of all rural airstrips in PNG.

RAA through partnership with the local level government has already finalised scoping out as first phase of the airstrip restoration project in the district.

“Basically all the airstrips should be open for use even before September, Christmas is too late,” member Samb said.

The District Development Authority allocated K500,000 for repair, maintenance and re-opening of the Ononge, Yongai, Woitape, Sopu, Guari and Fane airstrips.

This project has been decided to establish a transportation link into the district while awaiting the road project that may take longer.

“Airstrip is the way to go now. We are fortunate because most of our existing airstrips past their minimum length.

“Today because of security and safety and everything, most aircrafts now need minimum 600m length,” Samb said.

He furthered that local response has been really good, where locals have taken ownership of the initial clean-up of the airstrip area.

The next trip into the district is for community consultative meeting with locals before teams are deployed to finalise the project leading to their reopening.

Once finalized, the next issue is to attract airlines to come into the district with regards to customers using the service.

He said limited passengers were the main concern raised by airlines who over the years have focused more on providing charter flights.

“They need customers going up and coming back so it’s economic viable,” he explained.

Picture source: Goilala District Development Forum Blog

Source: PNG Loop

Gloria Bauai


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