Four volunteers appointed by the community to ensure the upkeep of the Baimuru and Ihu airstrips have been certified by Rural Airstrip Agency PNG Limited.
Volunteers Michael Ori, Kevin Peter, Kola Ipovu and Warren attended a weeklong training program organized by the Rural Airstrip Agency PNG Limited.
The Airstrip Maintenance Officers were trained on the safety of the airstrip environment as well as maintaining their mowers as well. They also learned about the expectations of CASA in line with the advisory circular part 1396 and what it necessitates and the minimum standard requirements of airstrips in the country for unlicensed aerodromes.
The training also covered weather reporting and the 5 different elements of weather and the 3 different elements of the runway condition which will be reported daily to the RAA Call Centre. The airstrip reporting is done on a monthly basis. The AMOs were also trained and upskilled on how to service the lawnmowers to ensure the life expectancy of the mowers is reached. They then went through a competency assessment to test their skills on how much they have learned.
Bobby Dara, the Safety Health Environment Quarantine Manager of Rural Airstrip Agency said the rehabilitation works, the test landing, and the launching were completed, but to continually maintain the airstrip to a minimum standard and requirement, we’ve got to have our AMOs trained so that they know what is required of them from the airstrip maintenance point of view thus the weeks’ successful training. And going forward, part of the responsibility through the MOA is for the KDDA in partnership with RAA to assist this ongoing maintenance process.
Dara said for the aircraft to land, it won’t be the responsibility of RAA but the service providers and or operators for services to reach the people.
The trainer Nichola Kedek who is the RAA Strategy and Public Affairs Officer said the Maintenance Officers responded well with the training and were appreciated and wished them well in the maintenance of the airstrips and trust that they will do a good job for the People of Ihu and Baimuru.
The Airstrip Maintenance Officers expressed their gratitude toward Soroi Marepo Eoe and his office for initiating the rehabilitation of the airstrips.
Michael Ori of Ihu particularly thanked the Member for Kikori for his leadership in ensuring the Ihu Airstrip has opened once again after a 17-year closure.
The Ihu airstrip was opened recently by the Minister for Transport, William Samb.