By Jack Lapauve Jr – EMTV News, Port Moresby
More effort is needed to build and improve rural airstrips around the country.
Civil Aviation Minister, Alfred Manase, says focus has been given to provincial ports, but connecting inland rural areas is crucial. Minister Manase says if roads may take years to build, improving existing rural airstrips could be the difference in supporting the local economy.
“The Government will help communities where there is significant economic activities like cocoa, copra, coffee and others who will help our economy”, said Minister Manase.
Minister Manase said despite the CADIP program ending in 2019, discussions are underway for CADIP 2, particularly the rural airstrip upgrade program. The CADIP program has been focusing on major ports in 22 centers around the country.
“Discussions are progressing for the CADIP program to help rural airstrips”, added Manase.
The Civil Aviation Minister says provinces with high economic activity to support the economy will be of high importance. This will see either a new airstrip developed, or existing facility improved and upgraded. Papua New Guinea has about 70 rural airstrips. Most were built during the colonial days. Nearly half of the 70 airstrips have remained closed, while a quarter are in operation, but with no maintenance. Most exist and are operational because of no road link.