Concern as PNG's Madang misses out on big airport build

9:42 am on 22 December 2015

A former Papua New Guinea cabinet minister and resort owner, Sir Peter Barter, says Madang has been promised a major airport for more than 40 years but continues to be overlooked.

Fishing vessels, both modern and traditional, in the Madang lagoon, Papua New Guinea; site of the planned Pacific Marine Industrial Zone.

Madang, Papua New Guinea Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

Last week it was announced that Lae's Nadzab Airport would be developed as the alternative to Port Moresby, a role that had been touted for Madang for many years.

Sir Peter, who runs the Madang Resort among other tourism ventures, admits everyone, including him, has a parochial interest in looking after their own area.

"But the fact is that Madang is the central point in Papua New Guinea. It is the point of contact, or [where] the Japanese wanted to come into. It is well away from Port Moresby. It has good weather for aircraft. It has got all the ingredients to make a first class tourist resort of its own."

Sir Peter says there have been plans to develop a major airport at Madang since before the Australian colonial era ended.