23 Mar 2011

Kavieng airport in PNG could remain shut down for 30 days

1:18 pm on 23 March 2011

The First Secretary to the Governor of New Ireland Province in Papua New Guinea says Kavieng Airport could remain closed for 30 days if the national government doesn't meet the demands of landowners.

The landowners from Omo closed the airport last week demanding the Government pay them 1.7 million US dollars for the use of their land for the town and the airport.

Nolis Thomas says the landowners have given the Government a month to agree on the reparation and warned the airport could remain shut down during this period.

"Politically you will understand it is a very touchy area to go into. So we are treading carefully so to speak. But really the national government is the body that needs to come out now more so than ever to tell them. Epel Tito is the principal landowner and he's saying that if the national government can come out and give him a date or so when they can make payment, he will open the airport."

Nolis Thomas says the airport closure has affected visitors to New Ireland Province and has impacted the delivery of groceries and medicine.