MAF Papua New Guinea, 1st February 2021:
We would like to inform our partners and customers about MAFs current status of operations and the progress since we shut down flying in Mar 2020 after our landing incidents. MAF has identified that the condition of airstrips was one of the contributing factors and as you are aware commenced fresh surveys of every airstrip based on ministry effectiveness and needs.
While the restrictions imposed on domestic travel by the Government due to the global pandemic did affect our operations, we have been engaged in health patrols to remote communities as a part of COVID response and have carried out more than 80 medevacs. Though the international travel restrictions are affecting our training and return of staff, we have been working diligently to be able to return to full-fledged operations in order to serve our remote communities.
The efforts of our ‘survey teams’ all through the year have resulted in us completing surveys of 136 of the 216 strips we regularly operate to. Planning and executing surveys need coordination between several agencies and we have been affected by weather on several occasions. We are aware of nearly 80 strips and several new airstrips that still need to be surveyed and are consciously working towards the same.
Thank you for your patience as we have worked hard to ensure the safety of you, your families, and your valuable cargo.
As per the end of January 2021, we now have exactly 100 airstrips open. See the list below for details.
Please bear with us as we have to balance the need for more surveys, the training of our pilots and the ongoing high demand of service and medevac flights. MAF is still intent on our mission of reaching isolated communities while at the same time doing this in the safest manner possible!
Airstrips open for MAF operations as per 1 February 2021
East Sepik (8): Ambunti, Malaumanda, Samban, Tamo, Wewak, Wuvulu, Yagiap, Yambaitok
Eastern Higlands (14): Aiyura, Ande, Aziana, Boikoa, Gema, Goroka, Guwasa, Marawaka, Owena, Simogu, Sindeni, Usarumpia, Wonenara, Wuyabo
Enga (5): Kairik, Kompiam, Maramuni, Pyarulama, Yenkisa
Gulf (3): Kerema, Kikori, Wabo
Hela (2): Tari, Wanakipa
Jiwaka (2): Koinambe, Tsendiap
Madang (4): Madang, Nankina, Simbai, Teptep
Morobe (7): Derim, Finschhafen, Gusap, Nadzap, Sapmanga, Wasu. Yalumet
NCD (1): Port Moresby
Sandaun (18): Angugnak, Buluwo, Edwaki, Eliptamin, Green River, Kwieftim, Lumi, Munbil, Nuku, Oksapmin, Sibilanga, Sisamin, Tadji, Tekin, Telefomin, Tumilbil, Vanimo, Yapsie
Simbu (3): Bomai, Chimbu, Karimui, Manu
Sounthern Highlands (1): Muluma
Western Province (29): Aiambak, Awaba, Balimo, Bensbach, Daru, Debepari, Dimissisi, Dodomona, Fuma, Hesalibi, Honinabi, Kamusi, Kapal, Kawito, Kiunga, Lake Murray, Morehead, Mougulu, Nomad River, Obo, Rumginae, Sasereme, Suabi, Suki, Tabubil, Tapila, Wawoi Falls, Weam, Wipim
Western Highlands (1): Mount Hagen
Airstrip Surveys in the Finisterre Mountains
Read Brad Venter’s encouraging account on last week’s airstrip surveys in Morobe Province (25-29 January 2021). Brav Venter is MAF PNG’s Flight Operations Manager and has about 10 years expereience flying with MAF in Papua New Guinea:
“We’ve been doing Morobe Province surveys the last couple of days. We did three surveys a couple of days ago, we went to Bunguwat, Yawan and Tapmange which is in the Morobe Province. And we also did a re-check at Sapmanga to check the clearway. So that was good.
And then today we did in Indagen, Isan and Satwag, we were going to Saidor but it was raining. That’s also all Morobe. We are trying to get enough airstrips open and surveyed in the Morobe Province so that we might start clinic runs with the Etap Lutheran hospital and also to provide a bit of a service to the people in Morobe Province.
Everywhere we go, the people are very, very excited to see us usually. In fact, everywhere we’ve been, they’ve been very excited to see us. And on the one day, actually, we got 26 cabbages given to us by various communities around. So at each place we were given a few more until we had a total of 26 cabbages in the airplane. And then we shared them out with the based staff and the Goroka compound people and all our security guards. Everyone had cabbages. And so, yes, very, very much excited about us coming back. They too keep asking us when we’re coming back to Nadzab and then and this and that. And we’ve given them numbers of the booking office and whatnot.
And then, particularly with Glenys, she’s going to be one of our main Morobe Province pilots. And so they’re incredibly excited usually to see the “meri pailot”, in fact at Indagen today, she had such a major reception, they were all so happy to see her. And so from that point of view, yes, she’s getting a lot of support. And that obviously gives us a great deal of reassurance that when she starts flying around solo, she’ll be fine and that the communities will look after her.
So that’s a good I think it’s been a it’s been really good for them to see us coming back again and and and that we haven’t forgotten about them. And we keep telling them we’re talking with the Morobe government, and that we are just working on it slowly. But we’re going to try and get a program going little bit by little bit. And and that, yes, we as MAF are still interested in coming back to the Finisterres.
There’s so still a lot of work to do because we haven’t gone further down there, Satwag is the furthest down at the Huon Peninsula, we’ve been so far. There are lots of surveys still to do further out. But otherwise, for now, that’s the furthest we’ve got with our Caravan experience; further down, we’ve got no Caravan experience, and those strips there, we don’t know anything about them.”
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Our vision at MAF PNG is to see isolated people physically and spiritually transformed in Christ’s name by sharing God’s love through aviation and technology.
MAF has operated in Papua New Guinea continuously since 1951, serving remote communities through aviation for 70 years. Using our Cessna Caravan, C208 aircraft we are able to overcome the physical barriers that prevent people in Papua New Guinea from having access to healthcare, education, safe water and the Gospel, helping to bring physical and spiritual healing to the isolated people of this country. We serve the local communities, local church groups, missionaries, NGOs, development and relief agencies, and government departments who are working to change the lives of those living in remote areas.