By MALUM NALU
Civil Aviation Minister Puri Ruing has pledged to make Papua New Guinea a safe country to fly in.
He made the pledge when launching PNG Air Services five-year plan 2011-2015 at the Holiday Inn in Port Moresby on Monday night.
“In this regard, the government of PNG must be committed to support and promote a healthy civil aviation sector; must facilitate access to the air transport network by the mass population; and ensure the safe and smooth flow of aircraft, passengers and cargo within the civil aviation system for the economic and social development of PNG,” Ruing said.
“To enable the delivery of modern civil aviation services, the government has established a sound legislative and regulatory framework for civil aviation that provides for the establishment of state aviation companies and entities to carry out regulatory and service provision within the aviation sector, in a more-efficient and effective manner and to meet government policy and directives.
“PNG Air Services Ltd is one such company which started operations on Jan 1, 2008.
“I am pleased that PNGASL satisfies government policy by operating as a self-funding company to conduct its business operations and maintenance of infrastructure.
“The challenge, however, is that PNGASL provides the required services using facilities and assets inherited from the former Civil Aviation Authority, majority of which are old, obsolete and out-of-date.”
Ruing said PNGASL had therefore embarked on a ambitious but critical programme called ‘ CNS/ATM replacement programme’ for the short, medium and longer term to mordernise its communications, navigation, surveillance and air traffic management systems to keep abreast of the modern trend.
“Once completed, the new communications, navigation and surveillance systems will drive the revitalisation of the delivery of air traffic management systems required in this growing aviation sector, which is intrinsic to the well-being of the people of PNG,” he said.
“This mordernisation is contained in the 2011-2015 development plan.
“The focus is to shift from current ground-based airways infrastructure to more-mordern and innovative satellite-based systems.
“This shift will also ensure that issues of land ownership, vandalism, theft, insurance, logistics, operational and maintenance costs are minimized and ultimately done away with.
“This mordenisation programme will obviously attract a significant capital investment to the tune of US$95 million and the government of PNG must be committed to ensure sufficient funds are allocated to fund this substantial investment programme.”
Ruing said US$20m has already been provided for by the Asian Development Bank while AusAID had also provided funding under the transport sector support programme (TSSP) and memorandum of understanding projects to assist PNGASL.