This media statement is in response to the sit in protest by the landowners of the Kavieng Airport area at the Kavieng Airport on Monday 11th January 2021 over alleged non-payment of land compensation claims.
I would like to thank the landowners for raising their grievances through peaceful means and I appeal to all parties to remain calm and respect the Airport facilities and services, while the Government looks into your grievances.
I wish to assure the Landowners of Kavieng Airport and the people of New Ireland Province that my Ministry is aware of grievances raised and appropriate consultation and steps are being taken to address your concerns.
At this juncture, I must stress that all airports and airport infrastructure within Papua New Guinea are situated on declared aerodrome land and remain State assets which are vital to the country. Landowners must be responsible in airing their grievances without interfering with air travel which is a vital public service.
In respect of the Kavieng Airport, I am aware and confirm the PNG Government’s commitment of K3 million to the Landowners during the Kavieng Airport Upgrade groundbreaking ceremony in July 2020. This is a commitment by the National Government which will be honoured. However, for any compensation claims on State land including all aerodromes in PNG, it is a requirement that the National Airport Corporation (NAC) be furnished with verification of the total amounts claimed, from the relevant state agencies including the Department of Lands and the Departments of Treasury and Finance. To date, this vital information has yet to be received and may impact on current claims.
I am also aware that previously the National Government, through the New Ireland Provincial Government, had paid K6 million for the acquisition of additional customary land, for the runway extension for Kavieng Airport in September 2019. This was for additional customary land outside of the existing Airport runway. At this stage, my ministry is in dialogue with respective ministers and the office of the Prime Minister to address your concerns.
Also, I would like to reiterate that crucial public services such as airports and air services are available for the public’s benefit and should not be disrupted unnecessarily for the sake of a minority group. We must think and act collectively for the greater good of our country.
The Government is committed to improving airport and aviation services for the people of New Ireland Province, which will boost the local economy. Currently, the Kavieng Airport Upgrade Project valued at K91.85 million is progressing well, as scheduled. This project is among several priority projects of the National Government in the air transport sector, which will support economic growth and development in Papua New Guinea. In this particular case, Kavieng stands to benefit from spin off businesses.
Your support towards this multi-million kina project, which is funded by the Asian Development Bank (ABD) with counterpart funding from the National Government, is crucial to ensure that this project reaches its scheduled completion in July 2022.
My Ministry and the National Airports Corporation stand committed to work with all stake holders and partners to address important community concerns within airport land.
HON. SEKI AGISA, MP
MINISTER FOR CIVIL AVIATION