By Sasha Pei-Silovo – EM TV Online
Preparations are well underway for the historic opening of the new Aropa Airport in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.
The airport will be officially opened on Friday 12 December, 2014, by the Prime Minister of PNG, Peter O’Neill and the President of the ABG, Chief Doctor John Momis and witnessed by dignitaries from the national government, the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, among others.
A milestone event for the region, traditional landowners of Aropa, the Autonomous Bougainville Government, the national government and the National Airports Corporation (NAC) have been working together to ensure that the day reflects the significance of the airport’s opening for the people of Bougainville.
A special events committee comprising of representatives from NAC, the ABG and landowners have been working around the clock to keep everything in check with ‘intensive preparatory meetings’ being conducted in Kieta at the district conference room.
The Aropa Airport was once Papua New Guinea’s international gateway to Bougainville from Australia, Fiji and the Solomon Islands, during the Bougainville copper mine era.
The aerodrome was closed soon after all services came to a halt in 1989, during the Bougainville Crisis, and decommissioned by the then Civil Aviation Authority (now National Airports Corporation) immediately after the closure.
The opening of the new Aropa Airport promises to be a very memorable and sublime occasion, strengthening the continuous efforts by the PNG government and the ABG to restore services to the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.