by Bethanie Harriman – EM TV News, Lae
The area around Lae’s Nadzab airport will be transformed into a growth centre, forty-two kilometres outside of Lae city.
The construction will start once a Japanese government funded master plan is completed, and the National government allocates funding to the redevelopment of the airport.
Civil Aviation Minister, Davis Steven, says the country’s second largest airport has to become a place for international travellers to stop over, and spend money in Papua New Guinea.
The last time Nadzab airport ever saw change was after 1982, when the terminal was burnt down. Since then, apart from the one off renovations, it has remained the same.
Nadzab’s infrastructure hasn’t kept up with the world and so Nadzab, hasn’t had a commercial international flight land since the early 1960s when it was a military base.
Today, the National government has plans to use a Japanese government funded master plan, created by JICA, to revamp the historical airport into a hub fit for international travellers.
“We are able now to do the per-feasibility study and the planning process is underway, I am happy to say that the Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, is taking the lead personally to ensure that the funding is assured, so Nadzab is definitely going to come on stream, as to the exact dates, we will announce them as we come,” said Civil Aviation Minister, Davis Steven.
Other countries in the Asia-Pacific region like Singapore make a significant amount of revenue from transiting passengers.
“Our country is placed in the centre of the continent, there is enough traffic above us, which I believe is a potential in the aviation sector, which we can look at and Nadzab is the best opportunity,” said Minister Steven.
Nadzab airport and all its supporting infrastructure in the tourism industry were never given the attention they needed to become world-class facilities to attract the sort of revenue enjoyed by another economies in the region.
Over the last forty-years, there has been wastage of funds, corruption and instability in the government and it’s become an obstacle.