by Bridgette Komatep – EM TV, Port Moresby
The people of Wapenamanda will now have seven daily flights operated by Link PNG, a subsidiary of Air Niugini.
The service is part of the government’s move to connect rural areas through daily flights. The inaugural flight by Link PNG brings the number of daily flights into Wapenamanda to seven. It is also in line with Link PNG’s mandate to provide regular and affordable services to remote parts of the country.
Link PNG flights into Wapenamanda are subsidised by the Enga provincial government. Total subsidies for this year amounted to K1 million. Governor Ipatas presented the remaining subsidy of K300,000.
Of this, K250,000 is allocated for 2014 and K50,000 for 2015. This means the people will pay the same fare as those traveling to Mt Hagen. Without the subsidiaries, a passenger in Wapenamanda would be paying more.
Governor Ipatas said as more development takes place, regular flights are needed to transport people in and out of the province. He warned people, especially public servants not to use government plated vehicles to transport people to Mt Hagen to catch their flights.
Another pride for the people of Enga is Captain Andui Koralyo, flight safety officer for Link PNG. He explained that due to various safety reasons, seats are often declared full so that during an emergency, an aircraft can land safely.
During the gold rush in Wau-Bulolo, the aviation industry made history with more flights to rural areas like Wau-Bulolo. Through Link PNG, the government hopes to do just that. Currently, a K5 million fencing project for the airport is underway. The Minister further committed K1 million to upgrade terminal facilities