The National Airports Corporation (NAC) has been forced to close Buka Airport due to continued security breaches.
In an issued statement today, the NAC say that recently, safety and security issues have increased significantly with people, domestic animals and unauthorised vehicles trespassing on airport land, crossing the runways, dropping rubbish in the restricted areas and generally being an interference to safe airport operations.
It has got to the point that NAC can no longer operate the airfield safely and as of 0600 Tuesday 13th August, NAC has closed Buka Airport once again.
The construction of a security fence around the airport has taken more than three years to complete due to external interference and there is still around 1km of fence that requires completion. To assist with safe and secure operations, this fence requires completing.
In December of 2018 the National Airports Corporation (NAC) was forced to close Buka Airport for a short period due to continual security breaches there.
Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) at that time the responded by committing to supporting a long term Police involvement at the airport along with establishing a committee of very senior people to proactively deal with the land owner issues and engage with all stakeholders to ensure there would be no more interference with Airport Operations.
The NAC has also issued an apology to the passengers who are being disrupted but state that law and order issues are for the local community, along with provincial and central government, to manage and not the Airport Authority.
NAC is in contact with ABG who are now working on a plan to resolve the issues at the earliest opportunity.