West Sepik Airport To Accept International Flights
by PNG Business News - June 13, 2022
Photo credit: Asian Development Bank
International flights will begin shortly at the new K28.8 million Vanimo Airport in West Sepik Province. This new facility was recently inaugurated.
The government and the Asian Development Bank are contributing K70.1 million to renovate the airport terminal, runway, and other infrastructure (ADB).
The new Vanimo terminal and its facilities anticipate hosting international flights in the future, with West Sepik Province being PNG's nearest gateway to Asia.
The major goal of the Vanimo airport improvement project, according to NAC managing director Rex Kiponge, is to assure safety and security compliance as well as operational certification to ICAO standards and recommended practises as well as the PNG Civil Aviation Safety Authority Rules Part 139.
“Today is special, because it marks the closing of a chapter and the beginning of a new one for Vanimo, the people of West Sepik Province and Papua New Guinea.
“For too long, the people of West Sepik and air traveling passengers, transitioning at Vanimo Airport were using a smaller terminal to process your flight check in, collect your boarding passes and then board your flight,” Mr Kiponge said.
He explained that the original Vanimo Airport had a runway strip length of 1660 metres, which was sufficient for smaller planes, but that as of November 2020, the new expanded runway length was increased to 1960 metres, allowing it to accommodate larger planes with additional seating capacity.
Mr Kiponge said the new terminal building at Vanimo Airport was built to NAC's standard Type B design, has more room than the previous one, and can handle up to 100 passengers at the same time.
“Unlike the previous old terminal building, the new terminal is modern looking, with facilities to give you are more comfortable experience as you enter.
“These include; departure and arrival lounges; counters for passenger Check-Ins; a conveyor belt for baggage at the arrival lounge; screening machines for baggage; toilet facilities; a kiosk, its fully air-conditioned and other services,” he said.
Mr Kiponge urged the inhabitants of West Sepik Province and the travelling public to look after the new terminal building and its facilities, as it is an asset for the province in terms of attracting additional development, considering Vanimo's proximity to the Indonesian border.
“Vanimo Airport is located as our border airport, sharing international border with Indonesia.
“Therefore, will continue to work with our border control authorities such as PNGDF, PNG Customs and related agencies with the focus on improving our border control efforts, international trade and compliance in the best interest of our people,” he said.
Reference: Kamus, Maxine. Post-Courier (7 June 2022). “New Airport Gateway To Asia”.
PNG Business News - May 10, 2021
Mendi Airport Redevelopment put on Hold
The Southern Highlands Province's Mendi Airport Redevelopment scheme has been placed on hold. The redevelopment of the airport, which was scheduled to be completed in October this year, has been placed on hold, according to NAC acting managing director Rex Kiponge, due to the contractor not having the right materials for the runway and a disagreement among the landowners in Mendi. According to Kiponge, he visited the project site last week to do an inspection, and NAC discovered that the materials used to build the airport's runway were not the correct materials because the contractors struggled on their end, so the contractors were advised to re-do the runway. “I have to admit, we faced a lot of issues not only in Mendi Airport redevelopment but through all the airports under the CADIP Program. The contractors will redo the airport runway and the work on the terminal has not started as yet,” he said. According to Kiponge, there have been several landowner disputes that the provincial government is responsible for resolving. He said that he is eager to resolve the issues and complete the project under CADIP before the Asian Development Bank's deadline of November 24, 2021. The Mendi Airport Redevelopment project includes upgrading the current runway pavement to accommodate Dash 8-400 (Q400) and ATR 0-70 aircraft, as well as the construction of a new terminal building and other developments such as NAC Staff quarters, a tractor shed, an engineer site office, and a powerhouse. CADIP 1 is a sub-project funded by the Asian Development Bank's multi-tranche funding facility loans, and the ADB needs to see proper progress on all project sites completed during the availability timeframe before moving on to CADIP 2, which is scheduled for 2022-2024.
PNG Business News - May 13, 2021
National Airport Corporation to Focus on Redevelopment Projects
The National Airports Corporation plans to devote more resources to the redevelopment projects at Kavieng, Tari, and Mendi airports as part of the Civil Aviation Growth Investment Program. With the exception of three airports, all airports under the CADIP program are on a budget, according to NAC acting managing director Rex Kiponge. Apart from Jackson Airport in Port Moresby, Kiponge claims that the majority of the country's airports are unable to handle the newly launched F100 aircraft. “The introduction of F100 aircraft has deteriorated the condition of runways in PNG. Under CADIP, fencing and runway length deficiencies will now meet the F100 and ICAO requirements. CADIP was implemented to meet the minimum PNG Civil Aviation Rules (CARS) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards and recommended practices in all the 22 airports in the country. “The F100 aircraft require a minimum runway length of 1900 metres –– only three airports meet this requirement.” The F100 will be able to land at 12 airports thanks to a CADIP runway length upgrade. Port Moresby is now the only province that meets the operating criteria for F100 planes. Standby control, security fencing, apron parking, runway, taxiway, and apron strength, and a runway length suitable for takeoff at maximum payload are all part of the 22 airport upgrades. Kiponge recently visited the three airports and expressed his satisfaction with the development. Contractors have already finished construction on the security fence at Kavieng Airport, and work on the runway extension is going well. Once the runway extension is complete, the contractors can begin work on the terminal. He mentioned that the runway extension at Tari Airport is complete, and contractors are currently working on the apron, which will be finished until the runway extension is completed. Owing to the contractors' inability to obtain materials for the runway at Mendi Airport, NAC has requested that they redo the runway before moving on to the other areas. “Despite whatever issues within NAC, I will ensure that all 22 NAC’s airports undergoing upgrading will be completed and I will put in a lot of efforts and focus to makes certain work is done well and completed,” Kiponge said.
PNG Business News - April 19, 2021
Airport Projects On Schedule
Subprojects funded by the Asian Development Bank's multi-tranche funding facility loans for the Civil Aviation Development Investment Program (CADIP) advancement are on schedule to be completed within the facility's availability span. The multi-tranche financing facility (MFF) is one of the ADB's modalities for assisting clients with their medium to long-term investment program or schedule. Bashirullah Khpalwan, the project team leader for the ADB-backed Civil Aviation Development Investment Program, said CADIP is a multi-tranche financing facility that has been introduced in three tranches as planned. CADIP is scheduled to be completed on November 24, 2021. The 21 national airports that handle the majority of the country's domestic passenger and freight traffic are the target of this investment program. He stated that CADIP's Tranche 1 was approved on December 1, 2009, and was completed in December 2015, while Tranche 2 was approved on November 25, 2013, and has made more than 95% implementation progress and is expected to be completed in September. Tranche 3, the MFF's final tranche, was approved on March 2, 2017, and all contracts have been awarded, with the exception of Kavieng Airport, which will be awarded in 2020. “The Kavieng Airport is on a critical path to completion and all other sub-projects under Tranche 3 are on track for completion as well within the MFF availability period of November 24, 2021. The executing agency for CADIP, the National Airports Corporation (NAC), has agreed with the civil works contractor in Kavieng to an accelerated schedule to complete the entire scope of the project within the availability of the MFF,” he said. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and its accompanying lockdown, the CADIP team and civil works contractors aim to make strides in 2020, with positive results so far. In terms of cumulative growth and milestones, CADIP Tranche 3 has proved to be one of the highest performing projects in the PARD portfolio in 2020. The investment scheme, according to Mr Khpalwan, is closely associated with the PNG Government's Development Strategic Plan 2010–2030 and National Transport Strategy, which both recognize essential air connectivity to rural areas as a national priority.
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PNG Business News - June 24, 2022
Creating decent income-earning opportunities for rural communities in Papua New Guinea under road maintenance programme
EU Funded UN Joint STREIT PNG Programme, as part of its mission to support efforts towards reducing rural poverty, is engaging local communities with a focus on struggling single parents as a support workforcefor maintenance of 18 selected farm-to-market roads in the Sepik region. Led by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the creation of these employment opportunities in remote communities where there are limited income-generating activities because of lack of accessible roads to markets is a relief to many disadvantaged households. This month the ILO team visited some of these beneficiaries who are employed in the Road Maintenance Groups (RMGs) working on a 17.7km-long Walkasa Mai-Wanwan road and an 8km-long Yiminum-Wilbowe road in the Nuku District of Sandaun Province. For the beneficiaries, this is a lifetime opportunity for a regular and steady income to support their and their families' everyday needs, and one important concern for the struggling families is paying for their siblings' and kids' school fees and associate costs. Among the struggling families are some widows like Marathia, aged 59, from Yiminum Village, who works on the Yiminum-Wilbowe road. "My husband died, and we were really struggling because our families have their own problems to take care of. Now, I'm very happy with this job which I joined last year. It helps with school fees for my children," said Marathia. Marathia was left with five children to support, including one who is attending final year studies at a vocational training nearby. With the income as an RMG, she was able to pay PGK 500 school fee last year and early this year she paid PGK 250. She said the community is also happy to see her contribution in a job they usually see as for men only. For youths like Jena Suwa this employment opens a new window to their life. She was not able to complete her studies after year 10 in 2018. "I'm very happy today because I was doing nothing in the house. I will now save some money to prepare to go back to school to become a nurse," said Jena. Sony Apo is another youth who completed Grade 8 in 2015 and is looking forward to some money to upgrade. He dreams of becoming a carpenter to continue the legacy of his late 'big daddy'. "Big daddy was the only skilled man we had in the family, and now I'm ready to become a carpenter as well," he said. The main works that encompass the road routine maintenance aspect to be undertaken by the RMGs include pothole patching, vegetation clearing, drainage and general cleaning along the road in preparation for engagement of a contractor to perform specific maintenance on these farm-to-market access and feeder roads. Safety gears and road maintenance tools like boots, gloves, vests, safety helmets, spades, hoes, wheelbarrows were also among the tools and equipment provided and distributed by the EU-STREIT PNG Programme among the RMGs' members. During the visits, the Programme's Community Facilitator, Rachel Bowie also shared with the RMGs to demonstrate commitment in their work to take ownership in the routine maintenance of these roads because it will serve them, their families and their fellow community members. The mission also conducted a drone survey of a 14km-long Nanaha-Tau LLG access road in the Ambunti-Drekikier District, East Sepik Province. In consultation with Ward Members, locals, including youths and women, were also recruited to form RMGs to conduct routine maintenance for this road that will also service Drekikier Secondary. Under the Programme selection criteria, one RMG comprises six members that must have at least two females. The group must also have representation from youths, single parents whose partners have died or have deserted them and traditional owners of land the road passes through. The Programme, in partnership with MiBank, a local financial institution, is implementing cashless transactions and banking for rural farmers by opening bank accounts for these RMGs, and their payment is deposited directly at the end of every month. This arrangement encourages rural farmers to save and grow their earnings, which can be used to access small loan benefits. Under this rural agriculture development programme, 18 rural roads in the Sepik region totalling close to 300 km in length are being maintained or upgraded with the help of RMGs to support the market access initiative implemented by the EU-STREIT PNG Programme for rural and farming communities to boost agriculture production and agribusiness activities pertaining to three targeted cocoa, vanilla and fisheries agri-food value chains for an improved income and cash flow for the rural communities. The roads will also support other agricultural, business, social and community activities and facilities like schools, aid posts and health centres that are in dire need of better accessible roads. The EU-STREIT PNG Programme, being implemented as a UN Joint Programme (FAO as the leading agency, and ILO, ITU, UNCDF and UNDP as partners), is the largest grant-funded Programme of the European Union in the country and the Pacific region. The Programme aims to help improve the lives of the people from East Sepik and Sandaun provinces, by focusing on increasing sustainable and inclusive economic development of rural areas through improved economic returns and opportunities from cocoa, vanilla and fishery value chains while strengthening and improving the efficiency of value chain enablers, including the business environment, and supporting sustainable, climate-proof transport and energy infrastructure development.
PNG Business News - June 24, 2022
Santos welcomes new apprentices in higher-level program
Photo: Leon Buskens, Santos Country Chair PNG meeting the 25 new apprentices in Port Moresby before their departure to the Institut Teknologi Petroleum Petronas (INSTEP) in Malaysia. Joining Mr Buskens and the apprentices are members of the Santos Training and People & Culture Teams. Santos is helping to equip Papua New Guinea’s next generation of oil and gas technicians with international qualifications. Ten females are among 25 novices who have joined the Santos 2022 Apprenticeship Program following a rigorous selection process which will see them train at the Institut Teknologi Petroleum Petronas (INSTEP) in Malaysia – 900 applications were received for the 2022 Program. Upon completion of the technician training at INSTEP, the apprentices will earn a Pearson Business Education Technology Council Level 2 and Level 3 UK qualification. Santos Country Chair for PNG, Leon Buskens when welcoming the apprentices, said: “You have joined at an exciting time following the merger between Oil Search and Santos. As the inaugural batch under the merged entity, there are greater opportunities for you to advance in all aspects of your career both in PNG and abroad. I encourage you to do your best and importantly, maintain a positive attitude and uphold your values - this is what will take you far on this journey. “This is the beginning, but you should be proud of yourselves as we are of you for making it this far. Congratulations and welcome to Santos.” Joining Mr Buskens to address the new cohort were pioneering trainees Cornelius Soagai, Senior Government Affairs Manager and Lydia Warubi, Deputy Occupational Health & Safety Manager. Mr Soagai went on to become the first national Production Manager in the Operations and Maintenance Department while Ms Warubi made waves as the first national female process technician to work at the Central Processing Facility. Both leaders encouraged the apprentices to maximize on the career development opportunities available to them at Santos. Among the cohort was Judy Sasa who completed the Company’s pre-apprentice program at the Kumul Petroleum Academy (KPA) in 2020. Judy finished at the top of her class and attained an honourable achievement award. A grateful Judy thanked Santos for a further opportunity to broaden her knowledge in oil and gas production. “My dream is coming true as I have always wanted to work in this industry,” Ms Sasa said. The 25 apprentices along with the Santos training team departed PNG for Malaysia last weekend. Two permanent employees were also part of the travelling party to INSTEP where they will train to become dual Electrical & Instrumentation tradesmen. Article courtesy of Santos
PNG Business News - June 23, 2022
PM Marape says East Sepik can become ‘economic powerhouse’ of PNG
Photo: PM Marape addressing the crowd in Maprik Prime Minister Hon. James Marape says East Sepik has the potential to become the “economic powerhouse” of Papua New Guinea. He said in Maprik recently (June 22 2022) that because of this potential, and in memory of founding Prime Minister the late Sir Michael Somare, the next Government would be formed in East Sepik. Present with the Prime Minister were East Sepik Governor Hon. Allan Bird (National Alliance), Angoram MP Hon. Salio Waipo (National Alliance), Maprik MP and Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Hon. John Simon (Pangu) and Pangu candidate for Wosera-Gawi Ronald Asik. Sir Michael was instrumental in the formation of both Pangu and National Alliance “East Sepik has the potential to become the ‘economic powerhouse’ province of our country,” PM Marape said. “This is why I will bring Government formation to here: Firstly, in memory of Sir Michael, and secondly, in memory of Sir Pita Lus. “This will be the 11th Parliament, and the first Parliament without Sir Michael and Sir Pita being alive. “This will be symbolic that the nation is now being passed on to the next generation.” PM Marape said formation of the new Government in East Sepik would also inspire the new generation of leaders to hold on to the lofty ideals of the founding fathers like Sir Michael and Sir Pita. He said his Government, over the last three years, had passed major laws to fight corruption and promised the people of Papua New Guinea that some prominent leaders would be prosecuted after the elections. These include the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), Whistle Blowers’ Act and Undisclosed Wealth Act. “What would be the point of Allan Bird and I growing the economy of the country when corruption is still prevalent?” PM Marape said. “We have managed to stifle corruption in the big way with passage of the three bills during the last term of Parliament. “Over the last three years, we have spent over K56 billion, which has grown the economy by K30 billion.” PM Marape said East Sepik’s economic powerhouse potential was in agriculture, through the vast Sepik Plains, and challenged the province to start growing rice on a large scale to reduce the huge K900 million rice import bill. “Over the next few years, and into the future, we want to grow our own rice for domestic consumption as well as export to Phillipines, Indonesia and the rest if the region,” he said. “Sir Michael, before his passing, said he had helped groom me up and asked me not to forget East Sepik into the future. “The way to achieve this is through economic independence. “I want every Papua New Guinean to have money in their pockets: Grow rice, grow cocoa, grow vanilla, look after cattle, bring in tourists, stop consumption of home brew, stop marijuana and other bad habits. “We are ready to take the country to the next level. “I want East Sepik to be an economic powerhouse no longer dependent on Waigani. “This is why I ask the people of East Sepik to send Allan Bird, John Simon, Salio Waipo and my Wosera-Gawi candidate Ronald Asik, Ambunti-Dreikikier candidate Richard Rafa and Wewak candidate Jim Simitab to Parliament. “ Article courtesy of PM JAMES MARAPE News Page