Prime Minister Hon. James Marape Urges Care of Newly ReopenedK41 Million Mendi Airport

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has called on the residents of Mendi-Munihu and the Southern Highlands to responsibly maintain the newly reopened K41 million Mendi Airport.

His appeal came during the inauguration ceremony held today, attended by thousands, marking a significant milestone facilitated by the Asian Development Bank’s Civil Aviation Development Investment Programme (CADIP).

Mendi Airport, which had been out of operation since 2018 following the torching of an Air Niugini Dash-8 aircraft, now features a modern terminal, secure fencing, a paved runway, and a standby generator.

The reopening was celebrated with the arrival of three PNG Air planes, one of which carried Prime Minister Marape and a delegation of ministers.

“It was emotional to see planes landing again at Mendi Airport after six years of closure,” stated Prime Minister Marape.

He emphasised the inherent goodness and law-abiding nature of the Mendi community, while condemning the few who have historically disrupted peace for political gains.

“We must stop this mentality now and allow peace and normalcy to return to Mendi, enabling air transport to thrive once more,” he urged.

The event also highlighted the communal spirit and resilience of the Southern Highlands people, with Prime Minister Marape expressing his admiration for their warm welcome.

“The unity displayed by the elders and young leaders of Southern Highlands, setting aside differences for regional betterment, truly warms my heart,” he remarked.

Prime Minister Marape also reflected on the setbacks the region has faced since the 2018 incidents, stressing the importance of maintaining Mendi’s appeal as a business and tourist destination.

With the Unity Games scheduled to be held in Mendi in 2025, he sees this as an opportunity to showcase the region’s potential.

Governor Hon. William Powi was commended for his efforts in ensuring the airport’s reopening.

“We must restore Mendi town to its former glory. I appeal to everyone to care diligently for this new airport and its facilities,” Prime Minister  Marape said.