Transport in Papua New Guinea

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Transport in Papua New Guinea is in many cases heavily limited by the mountainous terrain. The capital, Port Moresby, is not linked by road to any of the other major towns and many highland villages can only be reached by light aircraft or on foot.



One of the key recommendations of the 1964 World Bank mission was the creation of a new department to manage the development of all transport modes ([1]. While many of the World Bank mission's recommendations were much argued both locally and internationally this proposal was widely accepted as it was clear that both political and economic advancement depended on greatly improved land, sea and air transport. Beginning in 1967 with the appointment of a Coordinator of Transport heading a policy unit, in 1968-69 the Department of Transport was fully established responsible for policy and investment in all transport modes [2], (Civil aviation regulation remained with the Australian Department of Civil Aviation). In the late 60s a large development program prepared by the Department of Transport as a result of the UNDP Transport Survey of Papua New Guinea was endorsed by the PNG House of Assesmbly, the Australian Parliament and multilateral agences, and implementation continued through later decades. [3], [4]. This and subsequent revisions provided the basis for loans from the multilateral agencies, in particular the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and UNDP, establishing a relationship which remains. [5]. Major improvements were made to key highway links, notably between the coast and the highlands [6], to provide international standard port facilities at Port Moresby and Lae, and in lesser ports, for international and domestic airport upgradings, and for the regulation and management of transport services. The Department of Transport remains a key Government agency. Transport assistance from Australia also continued. The AusAid Transport Sector Support Program [7] provides ongoing investment and training assistance. Much of the transport infrastructure is not, however, maintained to appropriate standards, reducing the value of transport services.

Air Travel

Air travel is the single most important form of transport in Papua New Guinea, for the transport of humans and high density/value freight. Aeroplanes made it possible to open up the country during its early colonial period. Even today the two largest cities, Port Moresby and Lae, are only directly connected by planes.

Jacksons International Airport is the major international airport in Papua New Guinea, located 5 miles from Port Moresby.

Airports: 578 (2007 est.)

Heliports: 2 (2007 est.)

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