10 Jan 2011

New air service seen as boon for Bougainville economy

9:49 am on 10 January 2011

The office of the Bougainville President says the restoration of a domestic air service in the autonomous province of Papua New Guinea will benefit its economy.

The private company, National Air Services will provide the service in a joint venture arrangement with the Bougainville government, which will buy shares in the company.

The chief of staff of the President's office, Kevin Marimyas, says President John Momis is keen to restore internal air travel, which the province has been without since 1989, along with many other services.

The high cost of road transport in Bougainville is reported to have contributed to high prices for goods, and Kevin Marimyas says the service is a necessity.

"It will do a lot of good for the economy because you'll have a healthy society or community, because right now the travelling is quite strenuous and stressful. It takes almost a whole day or two days to go from one end of the island to the other and some times the rivers flood and all those sort of things. It causes a lot of problems to people travelling, whereas now the airlines it will take two hours, or three hours or 45 minutes."

Kevin Marimyas says the service should begin in two to four weeks.