Bougainville News: Air Niugini fulfils its cultural obligation to Kieta landowners

Air Niugini

Papua New Guinea flag carrier Air Niugini has fulfilled its cultural obligation with landowners from Kieta, Bougainville last weekend when it exchanged two pigs with store and garden foods as a token of appreciation to the landowners for allowing the airline to have one of its aircraft christened –Kieta.

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The cultural ceremony took place at Toborol village in Kieta and was attended by representatives from six major landowner groups- Barapang, Kurabang, Batuang, Baiang, Mantaa and Bakoringku whose land on which Aropa airport was built.
On behalf of Air Niugini, the airline’s General Manager- Customers and Markets, Dominic Kaumu attended the ceremony and presented the pigs and food items to the landowners.
Mr Kaumu said traditional obligations are an important part of our society and Air Niugini as the national airline was grateful to be able to fulfill its commitment with the landowners.
“ Air Niugini is supporting the government’s initiative to bring back the airline service to this part of Bougainville after 25 years and we are grateful for the fact that you have allowed us not only to resume services but also name one of our aircraft after your airport, Kieta.” Mr Kaumu said.
He added that such a ceremony further strengthens the partnership and co-operation between Air Niugini and the local communities to ensure that the airline services which have just resumed must continue.
“ As you all know, we have just resumed airline services here and we need support from everyone, landowners, communities and the government here to ensure these services continue for the benefit of our people in South and Central Bougainville” Kaumu said.
A Spokesperson representing the six landowner groups, Gabriel Sala acknowledged Air Niugini for fulfilling its traditional obligation and assured the airline of the landowners’ support.
“ Thank you Air Niugini for bringing back services to our people. We are grateful that you have fulfilled your traditional obligations. We assure you that you have our support and we can only hope for more business opportunities to open up in this part of Bougainville.” Sala said
Similar sentiments were echoed by Chief of Pateking clan-Elijah Tavau and Woman leader, Bernadine Naviung.
Mrs Naviung whilst assuring the airline of their support, she also appealed for participation and employment of landowners especially women and youths for spin off activities at the airport area.
Landowner representatives from the six major landowners received the two pigs and other foods which they later distributed to their sub-clans.
Air Niugini’s Q400 aircraft, Papa Xray was christened Kieta following its maiden flight to Kieta, carrying Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill and his delegation for Aropa airport opening on 12th December last year.
Air Niugini resumed services to Aropa airport after 25 years. The airline operates three weekly flights to Kieta every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The direct Port Moresby/Kieta flight is on Tuesday whilst the Thursday flight goes via Rabaul. The flight on Saturday goes from Port Moresby to Rabaul then Kieta, Rabaul and back to Port Moresby.
Meanwhile, Air Niugini services to Buka are continuing with daily flights, except Sunday.

Bougainville Development News : Aropa airport opens after 24 years


By Aloysius Laukai

The famous REBOINE, AROPA Airport in Central Bougainville officially opened for Business today by Prime Minister, PETER O’NEIL and ABG President, Chief DR. JOHN MOMIS amidst capacity crowd of what was estimated to be more than TEN THOUSAND people from South, Central and North Bougainville.

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Photo above Ishmael

The airport was closed at the height of the crisis in 1990 and remained closed although the Peace Monitoring Group and several light aircrafts continued to land especially for Bank runs to Central Bougainville.


The opening was added extra flavour when three Airline Companies also flew in on the re-opening day.


The Once International Airport had the Airline PNG landing first then the Air Niugini’s Q 400 which was officially named KIETA to commemorate this special service into mainland Bougainville.

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A plaque displaying this name KIETA was also unveiled by the Prime Minister PETER O’NEIL and ABG President DR. JOHN MOMIS this afternoon.


The Q400 carried the Prime Minister’s Official party whilst the Airline PNG carried Aropa Airport landowners who went to Port Moresby to complete the MOU on the future of the airport with the National Airport Corporation.

The other plane that landed today was the TRAVELAIR or the famous MANGI LO PLES which had the owner, MR. EREMAS WATOTO and several media team on it.

The opening ceremony was incident free although security was tight to make sure the opening went without any disturbance.


Dancers came from all over Bougainville


Speakers at the ceremony included the Minister for Communications, JIMMY MIRINGTORO, ABG President Chief DR. JOHN MOMIS and the Prime Minister PETER O’NEIL.

Comments from Peter O’Neil as reported by Brian Semoso

The PMs reply to President Momis struck the right cords with the masses.

Mi no kam toktok politics. Mi no kam toktok independence, mi no kam toktok lo referendum. Mi kam lo opim airport blo yupla. Mi kam lo givim yupla wanem samting yupla bin laikim long taim yet. Na mi kam tu lo lukim wanem samting gen yupla laikim ba mi wokim. Hausik ba mi wokim, Rot ba mi wokim, schools ba mi wokim. Within the next two years , rot stat lo Kokopau na kamap long Arawa ba mi sealim blo yupla mi kambek gen planti taim bai yupla les lo lukim pes blo me lo Bougainville…”


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Updated Reports 14 December

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and ABG President John Momis officially opened the K10 million Aropa airport just after 1pm today.

The opening was witnessed by a high-powered delegation from Waigani of State Ministers, heads of State-owed Enterprises (SOEs) and Bougainville leaders in Port Moresby.

The ribbon was cut by the two leaders to mark the official unveiling of the Kieta aerodrome plaque.

In what was a historic yet significant event for Bougainvilleans badly affected by the 10-year Bouganiville Crisis which started in 1989, it was an atmosphere of mixed feelings for locals.

Locals were excited with this opportunity and joined the delegation to set foot on the tarmac of the new airport.

Soon after the opening, National Airport Corporation (NAC) officials had to remove excited locals from the tarmac, most just wanting to have a closer look at the three planes from Air Niugini, Mangi Lo Ples and Airlines PNG that took part in the inaugural flight to Aropa.
The Aropa airport for the moment can only take aircrafts the size of Dash 8 and Q400 or smaller.


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Bougainville Development Good News: KIETA/AROPA airport set to open



Update: With first commercial flights due on December 26

The Phase 1 of the Aropa Airport redevelopment project is nearing its completion as final touches are being put on the terminal , the runway and also general clearing of the airport surroundings.

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The Runway has been sealed all the way from the Southern end of the airport to the Northern end. The Contractor (Dekenai) was still doing some rolling this week near end of the runway. Sweeping of the loose aggregates will be completed by this week.

The Runway markings are yet to be done and this will be done after sealing of both taxiway and tarmac area. The runway edges have been cleaned up so well is giving clearly visibility from both sides of the airport.

The old tarmac has been swept and ready to be sealed. Until the sealing is done, markings will wait until completion of sealing and associated works. Drainage works have been completed with former small island within Tarmac being filled by Contractor and will be sealed along with the whole tarmac. It is anticipated that the sealing of both taxiway and tarmac to be completed by end of this week, weather permitting.

The terminal is 95% complete with minor tidying up to do especially VIP lounge within the Arrival Hall. The Departure Lounge is ready for use by Airlines using 3 check in counters. Two Standby Powers Generators are already installed and in place, ready for official opening.



The Terminal Carpark is bieng tidied up and will be completed by end of November. The Public Toilet for Male/Female has been complete and ready for use at end of Terminal Carpark. The Airport Safety Officers( ASO) residence plus the combination of Tractor Shed/workshop is ready for use. A Tractor (New Holland) with slasher attached is already in place.

Last week a team from NAC and a team from CASA PNG were in Aropa as part of the Certification Process. They were in Bougainville to check and ensure basic and minimum safety requirements are being considered during construction, to check and see how far the Project has progressed and or how long more before official date (Tentative Friday 12th December 2014) and also to check on Operational Requirements immediately after the Construction (Personnel, Security etc.)

The Organising Committee( NAC/ABG) for the opening ceremony , have already put plans in place and will further consult frequently to make the day a historic and memorable day for the whole of Bougainville.

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