By Meriba Tulo – EMTV News, Port Moresby
Air travel to mainland Bougainville has received a boost with the recent installation of Precision Approach Indicator(PAPI) Lighting at the Aropa airport.
The installation of these PAPI lights was completed on Tuesday, this week, and was funded by the South Bougainville District Development Authority, at a cost of K100,000.
The installation of the PAPI lights at Aropa Airport, signal the first major development since the airport was re-opened in December 2014.
With the PAPI lights now in place, there are hopes that the larger aircraft can land at Aropa, which has been described as the gateway to Bougainville’s Tourism sector.
According to Deputy Opposition Leader & Member for South Bougainville, Timothy Masiu, the decision for the South Bougainville DDA to fund the installation of the PAPI lights, was done in the hope of opening up Central and South Bougainville to the rest of PNG – and also to international tourists, whose numbers are increasing.
In thanking the Civil Aviation Minister and National Airports Corporation for their prompt response in installing the PAPI lights at the Aropa Airport, Mr. Masiu is also calling on the management of Air Niugini to immediately schedule flights into Aropa as soon as possible – given the high demand for air travel in this part of Bougainville.
He has called on landowners to take ownership and look after the facilities at Aropa.
In what is seen as a major boost to air travel in Bougainville, it has confirmed Buin Airport in South Bougainville, will be included for funding next year through the CADIP 2 Program – which opens up South Bougainville to more tourism areas, with an aim to create a specific tourism product for the region.