Papua New Guinea
This article was added by the user . TheWorldNews is not responsible for the content of the platform.

Pilot stresses on serviceable airstrips

Villages – no matter how far from the city they are – need to be kept viable.

Chief executive officer of North Coast Aviation, Geoff Thiele, stressed that children need to be educated, and citizens need access to basic services.

Thiele came to PNG in 1979.

His first job in the country included flying trade store goods to Goilala, in Central Province, then going over to Wau, in Morobe Province, to pick up vegetables to take to Port Moresby.

43 years later, he is still flying goods and commodities using his company, NCA, where he has noted the longstanding struggles faced by PNG’s rural citizens.

“All our work has been ‘bush work’; we’re not interested in the normal Air Niugini, New Guinea aviation trunk routes,” he said.

“Flying in PNG is as difficult as it gets anywhere in the world. The airstrips have not been maintained as well as they should’ve done.

“The government has a company called Rural Airstrip Agency; they’ve not received the funding that they should have received and hopefully, there will be more there to maintain the airstrips at a reasonable level.”

Thiele believes that one way of ensuring cash flow in rural communities is for the government to subsidise regular charters to every serviceable airstrip. This will also pave the way for the delivery of basic services such as education, health and law and order.

He further suggested the need to revive the rural extension officer system to teach agricultural and farming practices to rural citizens.

“The villagers do it pretty tough in the bush,” he stated.

“There’s more electricity now, there are solar panels. We used to carry a lot of kerosene out into the bush but we don’t do that anymore.

“And communication has improved with mobile phones. There’s pretty good coverage all around the country which, it used to be all on old HF radios that were totally unreliable and unreadable.

“At the end of the day, the answer is to build more roads, and maintain more roads, which can be a difficult proposition in PNG.”

Thiele said until more roads are built, PNG’s leaders should seriously look into servicing the rural airstrips to serve the bulk of their population.