The iconic Kokoda is one of Papua New Guinea’s most prestigious areas, after the invasion of Japanese soldiers in World War II – a historically significant period for Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Kokoda, remembering the lives of those who fought and helped in the battle for the track.
Joining in on the commemorations is PNG flag carrier, Air Niugini.
Last week the airline officially named one of its latest Fokker 70 aircrafts, “Kokoda”. The aircraft will operate domestically, as well as to Australia and the Pacific.
Present at the launch, was Air Niugini CEO and Director, Simon Foo; Air Niugini Chairman, Sir Frederick Reiher; Tourism Minister, Tobias Kulang; Archbishop of Port Moresby, Sir Cardinal Ribat;, among other important members, and Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, who officiated at the event.
“The naming of this aircraft Kokoda will further enhance the Battle of Kokoda and the track of Kokoda to many Papua New Guineans and the travelling public as they board this particular plane,” Prime Minister O’Neill said at the ceremony.
In commending Air Niugini as well, Minister Tobias Kulang, said the name Kokoda is a significant part of our (Papua New Guinea) history, as well as Australia and the name remains synonymous to the rest of the world.
“Kokoda remains a flagship tourism product for PNG and by naming its latest Fokker 70 Kokoda, the Board and Management of Air Niugini have given more meaning and significance to the idles and values that define the history of the battle of Kokoda,” said Kulang said in a press statement.
He further said, “Kokoda Track remains our top tourism attraction however numbers have dropped from almost 7,000 per year to about 3,500 in recent years and that is something we are all working to improve on.”
In related news, Prime Minister O’Neill, on ANZAC Day, had encouraged more people to walk the Kokoda Track, to visit sites of commemoration around the nation, and to learn the history of what happened 75 years ago.