By Fabian Hakalits – EM TV News, Port Moresby
Landowners of Aropa Airport in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville have welcomed the second airline operator, PNG Air, into Kieta.
On Thursday April 21, the third new ATB aircraft ‘Alpha Tango Bravo’ flew to Buka and Aropa on its maiden flight to the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, and was welcomed in the Bougainville way.
The maiden flight, especially to Kieta, was historical following the Aropa Airport reopening in 2014.
Upon its arrival at Aropa Airport, PNG Air fulfilled its customary obligation as the second airline operator to this airport.
Village Chief, John Taruna, speaking at Aropa Airport, assured airline operators of the safety of aircrafts and crew operating into Aropa Airport.
Taruna on behalf of landowners welcomed the service into Aropa.
“Nobody will close this airport. Any issues will be solved internally,” he said.
Chief Commercial Officer, Paul Abbot, thanked landowners for accepting the service and said PNG Air will provide affordable flights.
“Our intention is to link Buka and Aropa with regular air services in both directions, so it will help the people of Bougainville in terms of transportation, business houses and also the tourism development,” he said.
Autonomous Bougainville Government’s Civil Aviation Minister, Luke Karaston, assured airline operators that’security issues will not be compromised.
“On behalf of the Autonomous Bougainville Government, we would like to thank this airline company for the service. With the competition, it will enable people to choose. We look forward to much wider future work with PNG Air,” the Minister’said.
For locals like Gwen Bogina, Milton David and Bernadine Naviung, with more services resuming after the civil war, this is a positive sign of more developmen’s in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.
Costs will be affordable allowing people to travel more, as part of promoting local tourism and it’s the people’s choice, choosing to fly with which airline they wish too.