France tax rebate to boost New Caledonia’s AirCalin airliner fleet

An AirCalin promotion poster at Tontouta International Airport, New Caledonia. Image: David Robie/PMC

By RNZ Pacific

New Caledonia’s international airline, AirCalin, has been given tax rebates by France to buy two new Airbus airliners.

The French High Commission in Noumea announced the Economics and Finance Ministry had approved the concession for the purchase of two Airbus A330-900neo planes, which are expected to be delivered in May next year.

The statement did not say how much the airline had saved.

It said this support would help AirCalin develop its activities, be it for tourism or medical evacuations.

The statement said this was also a sign of the French state’s support for the airline and for New Caledonia.

AirCalin flies to destinations in the Pacific, including Auckland in New Zealand, and also provides a service to Japan to link passengers from and to France.


This article is republished under the Pacific Media Centre’s content partnership with Radio New Zealand.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Air Niugini plane overshoots runway into Chuuk lagoon – all 47 safe

By RNZ Pacific

An Air Niugini plane which landed in a Micronesian lagoon apparently overshot the runway on landing.

The Boeing 737-800 was scheduled to stop in Chuuk on its way from Pohnpei to Port Moresby.

All 47 people on board are reported to be safe by the national police.


The plane was reportedly carrying 36 passengers and 11 crew.

RNZ Pacific’s correspondent Giff Johnson said small boats quickly went out to help rescue passengers from the plane before it sank in the waters off the runway in the Chuuk capital, Weno.


“It clearly wasn’t a crash, in the sense of a plane going down and coming apart. The plane seemed to be intact and that fits in with landing on the runway and then shooting off which we’ve had some experience with, with other airlines.”

All through Micronesia generally runways are short, according to Giff Johnson, who’s based in the Marshall Islands capital, Majuro.

“On a normal landing you end up 30 metres from the end of the runway and the end of the runway means water,” he said.

Pacnews editor Makareta Komai’s tweet on the crash landing.

An Asia Pacific Airlines Boeing 727 cargo plane overran the runway in Pohnpei 10 years ago.

According to reports it came to a rest with its nosewheel in the water of the lagoon at the end of the 1800 metre runway in May 2008.

This article is republished under the Pacific Media Centre’s content partnership with Radio New Zealand.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Eight die in Papua plane crash – teenager boy lone survivor

Wreckage of the plane that crashed near Paniai, Papua, close to the Papua New Guinea border on Saturday. Image: Jakarta Post

By Nethy Dharma Somba in Jayapura

A plane crashed in the mountainous Gunung Menuk area in Pegunungan Bintang regency of Indonesia’s Papua province on Saturday, killing eight people on board, including the pilot and co-pilot  – but a 12-year-old boy survived.

Rescuers who reached the aircraft at dawn said they found the boy alive among the wreckage.

The crash was near Oksibil close to the border with Papua New Guinea.

“The survivor, identified as J, 12, has been evacuated from the crash site and taken to a hospital in Oksibil district to receive treatment for his broken right hand,” Pegunungan Bintang police chief Adjunct Commander Michael Mumbunan said yesterday.

He said the victim’s bodies were also being transported to Oksibil.

The Swiss-built plane, operated by PT Martha Buana Abadi, was found on Sunday at 6.15 am local time, according to Jayapura Search and Rescue Agency spokesman Yadianto.


The plane departed from Tanah Merah airport in Boven Digul on Saturday at 1.42 pm and was scheduled to arrive at Oksibil airport at 2.20 pm.

“It took eight hours for search and rescue personnel to reach the crash site – comprising a two-hour drive and a six-hour trek through Kampung Okatem to Gunung Menuk,” Yadianto said.

In 2015, a Trigana Air twin turboprop plane crashed near Oksibil, killing all 54 on board.

Nethy Dharma Somba is a Jayapura-based reporter of the English-language Jakarta Post.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

No injuries in Vanuatu ‘runway excursion’ emergency landing

Nobody was hurt, but three commercial aircraft were damaged when an Air Vanuatu ATR-72 made an emergency landing at Bauerfield airport, Port Vila, today. Image: Dan McGarry/VDP

By Dan McGarry in Port Vila

An Air Vanuatu ATR-72 made an emergency landing in Port Vila today. The aircraft, which had 39 passengers and 4 crew aboard, landed in a gentle tail wind.

According to a statement issued by Air Vanuatu Ltd, the aircraft “was involved in a runway excursion. The incident occurred at the end of the runway on landing”.

Neither the pilots nor the passengers on board suffered any injuries. The Civil Aviation Authority Vanuatu is investigating the incident.

The aircraft was inbound to Port Vila from Tanna. It apparently suffered loss of power to one engine as it overflew the island of Erromango, about 20 minutes away from Bauerfield airport in Port Vila.

Multiple sources told the Vanuatu Daily Post that there was smoke in the cabin when the aircraft landed.

Passenger Janis Steele added some details on a Daily Post social media discussion board:


“The cabin was filled with smoke from a fire below and they cut off the starboard engine mid flight. No oxygen masks dropped and visibility in the cabin was only a couple of meters and breathing was difficult.

“The plane went off the runway during the emergency landing and cut through the front half of a [Unity Airlines] plane before we stopped. We then (elderly included) had to jump down from the cabin with about a meter and a half drop.

“So relieved that everyone appears to be physically OK.”

Medical assessment
All passengers were given an emergency medical assessment by first responders. ProMedical staff report no injuries, but confirmed that 13 people reported discomfort due to the smoke, and requested further medical assessment.

The plane landed at 11am and after it had run a significant distance, it veered to the left, into an area in which several small charter aircraft were parked.

One plane belonging to Unity Airlines was a “write off” according to its owner. The nose section of the plane was obliterated, and there is a visible dent in one engine enclosure.

Another aircraft, operated by Air Taxi, suffered significant damage to its tail section. The owner of the aircraft told the Daily Post that she had not been allowed to approach her aircraft to assess damage.

In an update received by the Daily Post shortly after 1pm today, Air Vanuatu offered additional detail:

“Air Vanuatu has advised all domestic and international services are continuing after the re-opening of Bauerfield airport.

“Passengers booked to travel on domestic services are advised to reconfirm their flights with Air Vanuatu by calling 22000.

“Air Vanuatu management is working closely with authorities to investigate the runway excursion of one of their ATR-72 aircraft.

“Chief Executive Officer Derek Nice has spoken with passengers and the operating crew of the flight and praised the crew for their professionalism and skill which contributed to no injuries from the incident.”

No comment
The Daily Post visited the emergency operations centre established by Airports Vanuatu Ltd, which operates Bauerfield airport.

Staff refused to comment, except to confirm that an incident had occurred. They declined to confirm the number of aircraft involved or, curiously, whether airport operations were resuming.

They referred the newspaper to Air Vanuatu for this last piece of information.

Air Vanuatu Ltd later confirmed that the airport had reopened, and they confirmed that one flight, from Port Vila to Nadi, was cancelled. All other flights were going ahead according to schedule, they said.

First responders spoke glowingly of the professionalism of the AVL fire crew. One person with professional firefighting experience told the Daily Post that the ground personnel acted with professionalism and at the highest standard.

The identity of the pilots on board the aircraft has not yet been released.

Dan McGarry is media director of the Vanuatu Daily Post group.This article is republished with permission.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

O’Neill imposes PNG curfew, vows arrests in wake of Mendi torchings

Mendi’s courthouse was among two buildings set ablaze by the protesters over an unsuccessful appeal over last year’s general election. Image: Scott Waide/EMTV News

Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk

Papua New Guinea authorities have imposed a 6pm to 6am curfew in the Southern Highlands provincial capital of Mendi to prevent further violence.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has vowed that political leaders who are alleged to be behind the violence in which an Air Niugini aircraft at Mendi airport and the courthouse were set ablaze and destroyed yesterday will be arrested.

He said the culprits would be arrested and charged within a 21-day period, reports the PNG Post-Courier.

The blazing Air Niugini Link PNG aircraft at Mendi airport. Image: EMTV News

O’Neill announced this today after the National Executive Council decided to declare a state of emergency in Mendi.

Former Southern Highlands Provincial Administrator Thomas Eluh has been appointed SOE Controller.

Additional police and Defence Force personnel will be flown into Mendi to restore law and order.


The riot in Mendi followed a National Court decision yesterday dismissing the election petition by Joseph Kobol who had challenged last year’s election result, declaring the incumbent William Powi as Governor.

Plane, buildings set ablaze
An Air Niugini PNGLink Dash 8 aircraft was set on fire at Mendi airport, the District and National Court Building, as well as Governor William Powi’s residence were set alight in the election related violence to hit the Province.

Air Niugini chief executive officer Durani Tahawar said today that the captain and crew of the torched Link PNG Airline had safely arrived in Mount Hagen from Mendi under escort and were now being checked in at a safe Hotel.

“Our HGU staff is with them and we are grateful that they are safe, they shall return tomorrow to Port Moresby,” he said.

Earlier, Prime Minister O’Neill described the actions of the protesters as “disgraceful”, reports EMTV News.

Link PNG has suspended flights to Mendi, Tari and Wapenamanda until further notice.

Asia Pacific Report republishes EMTV News content with permission.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Protesters in PNG’s Highlands torch plane, shut Mendi airport

The destroyed Air Nuigini Dash 8 at Papua New Guinea’s Mendi Airport. Image: Melvin Levongo/RNZ Pacific

By RNZ Pacific

Protesters in the Papua New Guinea Southern Highlands town of Mendi have torched a plane and closed the airport.

Earlier, the local police station commander Gideon Kauke had said police were guarding the aircraft to ensure there was no further damage after its tyres had been flattened.

But he said his team of about 10 police could not contain a mob of “uncountable numbers”, particularly after missiles were thrown, forcing them to retreat.

“We were guarding the plane but compared to them we were outnumbered and they came in all directions, all corners. Missiles were thrown, bush knives were thrown,” Kauke said.

Kauke said some of the protesters, who continued to behave “menacingly” in Mendi as their numbers build up, were carrying guns.

He said the protest was in response to a court ruling in Waigani confirming the election of the Southern Highlands Governor William Powi.


Governor Powi’s success in last year’s PNG general election had been challenged by Joseph Kobol and Bernard Peter Kaku.

Kauke said the protestors alleged there was foul play in the court decision.

This RNZ Pacific news item is published under a content sharing agreement with the Pacific Media Centre.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Police again question Islands Business chief editor, ex-publisher in probe

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Police again question Islands Business chief editor, ex-publisher in probe

Pacific Media Watch Newsdesk

Islands Business managing director and editor Samisoni Pareti has again been questioned by Fiji police over an online article involving a local magistrate, the news magazine reports.

Pareti was today called to Criminal Investigation Department headquarters for the second time this week to answer allegations on an alleged breach of the Public Order Act.

The Director of Public Prosecutions will decide whether Pareti and colleague Nanise Volau must answer charges relating to alleged incitement to sedition.

LISTEN: Alarm in Fiji over police investigation into Islands Business

READ MORE: Police grill magazine editorial staff over story

Former IB publisher Netani Rika was questioned earlier today and released, the news magazine reported.

On Sunday, police questioned Rika, Pareti and Volau in connection with an article on Andrew See who recently ruled in favour of Air Terminal Services Limited (ATS) workers in an industrial dispute over Nadi International Airport. IB had alleged in its report that the magistrate’s contract had been terminated three weeks after his landmark ruling on January 20.

Islands Business reported on its social media website that police were “being assisted in their investigations” by Chief Registrar Yohan Liyanage, and Fiji Sun journalist Jyoti Pratibha, a claim later denied by the reporter in the Fijiian Newsroom social media page.

FBC News reported late this afternoon that police spokesperson Ana Naisoro had said Rika had been released while Pareti and Volau were still being questioned.

Cloud over magistrate in ATS case
– The Islands Business article that stirred the controversy
Alarm in Fiji over police investigation into Islands Business – ABC
Be ‘responsible, journalists reminded
Fiji Times
Police question magazine trioFiji Times
The Real Issues behind the ATS dispute – Fiji Labour Party
Air Terminal Services
Fiji police issue permit for FTUC march Islands Business

The man I never knew – a tribute to a PNG crash pilot’s tragic end

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: The man I never knew – a tribute to a PNG crash pilot’s tragic end

By Malum Nalu in Port Moresby

As I look into the face in the photo
Into the eyes of the man I never knew
I see the pain
The hurt

He shows me the cloud-covered Saruwaged
The treetops
I hear the crunch
As the plane hits the branches

I see the hope in his eyes
As he makes an SOS
Hoping against hope
In the freezing cold as the pain sets in

I see the hurt
Of missing Christmas with loved ones
Help is not coming
Darkness is closing in

– To the memory of David Tong
who lost his life in the Saruwaged Range
serving the people of Kabwum, Morobe and Papua New Guinea

On the afternoon of Saturday, December 23, I received a text message from an Australian woman friend of mine asking if I was aware of a plane crash in the vicinity of Nadzab Airport in Papua New Guinea’s second city Lae.


Not being aware of anything, and thinking that this was fake news, I didn’t respond.

It was only overnight that sketchy reports started filtering in from Lae of a North Coast Aviation plane crash somewhere in Kabwum in the mountains of Morobe.

On the evening of Christmas Eve, I called up my good friend of many years in Lae, Simon Elap, who is the chief engineer of NCA.

He confirmed to me that the plane, a Britten Norman Islander owned by NCA, had crashed on the morning of the previous day in bad weather in the mountains of Kabwum when returning to Lae.

Pilot was alive
Elap told me that the pilot, an expatriate, was alive and had made contact.

However, rescue teams couldn’t make it in because of the weather.

Elap said Kabwum locals were walking in while a search and rescue team from Porgera mine would move in on the morning of Christmas Day.

I was concerned as just the previous month, on November 26, a good mate of mine, NCA chief pilot Thomas Keindip, had died in Lae after a short illness.

On Christmas Day, after a barbecue with my kids at home, I again called Elap and the news wasn’t too good: The search and rescue team from Porgera failed to make it into the crash site.

The crash site was 3000m above sea level on Mt Saruwaged in the rugged Saruwaged Range.

Rugged terrain
I have flown over the Saruwaged to Kabwum several times during my younger days as a reporter in Lae and know it as rugged terrain with thick, tropical rain forest.

On Tuesday, December 26, I called Elap in the evening and he told me the sad news: The search-and-rescue team reached the crash site 3000m above sea level on Mt Saruwaged that day but the pilot was dead.

I shed a quiet tear as I tried to imagine what the pilot had gone through.

Mt Saruwaged (Bangeta) in the Saruwaged Range of Morobe, where the fatal plane crash took place, is the fourth highest mountain in the country at 4121m.

The three taller peaks are Mt Wilhelm in Chimbu (4509m), Mt Giluwe in Southern Highlands (4367m), and Mt Boising in the neighbouring Finisterre Range of Madang (4150m).

The pilot was alive when the plane crashed on Mt Saruwaged on Saturday, December 23. However, rescuers did not get in until Tuesday, December 26, when he was already dead.

I can imagine the pain, misery, loneliness and freezing cold on the mountain.

The Saruwaged is not far from Nadzab, as the eagle flies, and I know this from travelling several times.

You fly from Nadzab, over the Erap River, into Nawaeb and across the rugged Saruwaged Range into Kabwum.

Could the pilot have been saved?
The weather had been very bad, however. Could the pilot have been saved if we had put in extra effort?

God only knows.

I then found out that pilot David Tong was not just an ordinary aviator.

He was one of the top pianists in Australia and the world.

He could have chosen to remain in the top music halls of the world but opted to fly in Papua New Guinea.

That fact about Tong’s life became known after his death.

His body, meantime, remains at the funeral home in Lae until arrangements are made this week.

His mother flew in from Australia to see the body of her son and was moved to tears after seeing the display of emotion shown by NCA staff and the people of Morobe.

Frequent guest pianist
According to the Greater Geraldton Regional Library website of Australia:

“Born in Macao in 1983, David Tong migrated to Australia in 1988 and soon began taking piano lessons.

“Following an extensive period of study, he went on to study at the prominent Juilliard School of Music in New York and was awarded the Vladimir Horowitz scholarship.

“In addition to having been a frequent guest artist with all Australian symphony orchestras, David was regularly invited to appear with many of today’s top orchestras, including the Hungarian Symphony Orchestra in Budapest, New York Philharmonic, as well as with the philharmonic orchestras of Rochester, Naples (Florida), and Hong Kong.

“Of significant importance in David’s career was a performance with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the 2002 Sydney Festival’s Gala Domain Concert, where he performed to an audience of more than 90,000 people.”

Since 2014, Tong had worked as a commercial pilot.

He was based in Geraldton and worked as a line pilot for Geraldton Air Charter before moving to PNG in 2016 to join North Coast Aviation.

Tong, 34, survived the crash and made calls on his mobile but bad weather prevented rescuers from reaching him for three days.

The pianist Zsolt Bognar writes: “It is with great sadness that I learn my old friend David Tong was found dead on Tuesday from injuries sustained in a plane crash.

“I remember first meeting him in Texas in 2001 and being struck by his sunshine-filled spirit, his strong Australian accent, and vivacious temperament.

“He was an incredible pianist with a breathtaking technique – I remember how he burst into my practice room and deployed Chopin Etudes with ease–and as a human being and friend he will be missed.

“What devastating news.”

David Tong, during the short time he spent serving the rural people of Kabwum, Morobe and Papua New Guinea, touched us all like an angel.

Thank you, David Tong, and Thomas Keindip before you, for lifting us all to greater heights.

Malum Nalu is a senior journalist with The National and a celebrated PNG blogger. His National Weekender article is republished by Asia Pacific Report with permission.

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Yogyakarta airport developers warned not to ‘steal’ people’s land

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Yogyakarta airport developers warned not to ‘steal’ people’s land

A police officer looks on as workers of state-owned airport operator PT Angkasa Pura I bulldoze a building in the vicinity of Glagah village to make room for the New Yogyakarta International Airport (NYIA) in Kulonprogro, Yogyakarta on Friday. Image: Bambang Muryanto/The Jakarta Post

By Bambang Muryanto in Yogyakarta

Indonesia’s National Commission for Human Rights (Komnas HAM) has demanded that state-owned airport operator PT Angkasa Pura I consider human rights aspects while working on the construction of a new airport in Kulonprogo, Yogyakarta.

The project should be free from human rights breaches, in particular when it comes to land ownership, the organisation said.

“Please, do not steal the citizen’s lands in the name of infrastructure development,” said Komnas HAM commissioner Choirul Anam.

READ MORE: Students reject new Yogyakarta airport, condemn forced evictions

Choirul added that he had received reports from local activists claiming that people of Glagah village were being forced by the company and police to give up their land.

Thirty of some 2700 families living on the disputed land reportedly insist on staying in their homes. Choirul suggested the company engage in dialogue with the people to find a solution.


“This is not only about land ownership; the eviction also threatens the people’s culture and social wellbeing,” he said, noting that violence could create even more problems.

Meanwhile, PT Angkasa Pura, through the manager of the New Yogyakarta International Airport (NYIA) construction project, Sudjiastono, claimed it had done everything in line with the law on land procurement for public utilities construction.

According to the regulation, he added, the company was allowed to forcibly evict people who refused to give up their land in return for compensation through the court.

“We’ve respected the people’s rights by giving them compensation, more than they deserve to get,” he said.

Bambang Muryanto is Yogyakarta correspondent of The Jakarta Post.

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Students reject new Yogyakarta airport, condemn forced evictions

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Students reject new Yogyakarta airport, condemn forced evictions

Students protest over the new Yogyakarta airport and forced evictions. Image: News

By Ristu Hanafi in Yogyakarta

Protesters and students from Indonesia’s Alliance against the Kulon Progo Airport have again demonstrated in front of the PT Angkasa Pura (API) offices in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta.

The action was marred by scuffles between protesters and security personnel and the blockading of the road in front of API.

The demonstration began at the weekend. The protesters took turns in giving speeches opposing the construction of the New Yogyakarta International Airport (NYIA) in Kulon Progo regency.

Although the demonstration initially proceeded without incident, it was suddenly marred by a scuffle between the protesters and API Yogyakarta security personnel.

As a result, the front gate to the API office was damaged.

The demonstrators then blockaded a length of the road in the direction of Solo-Yogya. Not surprisingly, there was a long traffic jam on the length of road alongside the Adisutjipto International Airport which is located not far from the demonstration.


The demonstrators were still blockading the road and giving speeches in the middle of the street when Detik News published this story.

The blockade is located on the length of road in front of the PT API office on Jl. Raya Solo Km 9. As a result the flow of traffic from the east towards Yogyakarta city was brought to a standstill.

Security personnel from AP I, the police and the TNI (Indonesian military) could be seen guarding the rally.

“We are protesting in solidarity with the residents of Temon sub-district, Kulon Progo, who are being impacted on by the airport project. Reject the NYIA project and stop the forced eviction of Kulon Progo residents”, said action coordinator. (sip/sip)

Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was “Demo Tolak Bandara Kulon Progo, Mahasiswa Orasi dan Blokir Jalan”.

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