25 Aug 2004

PNG prime minister confirms Mt Hagen airport opening attendance

1:08 pm on 25 August 2004

Papua New Guinea's Transport and Civil Aviation Minister, Don Polye, has announced that the prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, will open Mt Hagen's new Kagamuga Airport next week.

Yesterday, the Post Courier newspaper reported that local landowners from the Yamka tribe had told the prime minister not to turn up for the ceremony unless he brought with him 65 thousand US dollars in settlement of their claims for the airport land.

Mr Polye accused the landowners of trying to blackmail the government and reminded the tribe that the airport comes under the jurisdiction of the National Government through the Civil Aviation Authority.

He also said the opening had been postponed for a week due to a National Executive Council meeting in Rabaul.

The prime minister has assured the newspaper that he will be at the airport's opening.