By Theckla Gunga – EMTV News, Port Moresby
High rental charges and the type of navigation system used by the National Airports Corporation are two contributing factors to the high airfares charged by the two airline companies.
Civil Aviation Minister, Alfred Manase made this remarks when he was asked through a supplementary question by East Sepik Governor, Allan Bird.
The initial question was raised by Goroka MP, Henry Ame on the high rentals NAC is charging the two airline companies for office space in the recently upgraded Goroka Terminal.
The MP asked why NAC was charging Air Niugini a rental space for K200 000 per month.
These queries come after Air Niugini and PNG Air employees in Goroka had refused to move into the new terminal, six weeks after it was officially opened.
They say the delay in them moving into the new terminal was because of the high charges NAC was charging.
The Aviation Minister, who tried to justify the high rentals said in order to keep an airport operating, high rental fees must be paid especially for upgraded airports.
He made mentions on the safety standards both airlines need to comply with and the operational costs involved.
In a supplementary question, Governor Bird highlighted the government’s intention to upgrade the Boram Airport in East Sepik. But he fears of the extremely high costs, ordinary Papua New Guineas will be charged for airfares.
The Civil Aviation Minister responded that there are predictions that once all airport facilities in the country are upgraded, it will reduce the high airfares. He has not mentioned how this would be done.