27 Jul 2010

Airlines PNG defends safety record a year on from Kokoda tragedy

8:05 pm on 27 July 2010

Airlines PNG has defended its safety record as Papua New Guinea prepares for the first anniversary of the Kokoda plane crash that killed 13 people.

Nine Australians were among the victims when APNG flight 4684 crashed en route to Kokoda on August 11, 2009.

Two PNG pilots and a Japanese tourist also died.

In less than a year since the crash, there have been three mishaps involving APNG - including one incident in which a plane veered off the runaway during take off.

The other two incidents involved a plane becoming bogged in wet ground, and another aircraft that had a flat tyre and damage to a wheel.

APNG spokeswoman Danae Jones told the AAP news agency that the airline has "impeccable safety standards".

But she wouldn't discuss its maintenance procedures, the age of its fleet or improvements made since the Kokoda crash in the absence of a state issued accident report.

However the accident report could be a long time coming because PNG's only air crash investigator wasn't able to get his contract renewed this month before he had finished his probe into the crash.