Papua New Guinea is one of the few countries in the world that rates air travel as the common & sometimes the only means of travel around the country. Most people who live and work in urban centres return home to their villages for holidays.
As we reach peak period, the two carriers - Air Niugini & Airlines PNG - are stretched to the limit. Satisfaction is definitely not guaranteed. Airports are choc-a-bloc with traffic, people and cargo from sunrise to sundown.
Jackson airport in Port Moresby is no exception. Two weeks ago I accompanied my 2 sisters and 8 children to the airport so they could travel home for the school holidays . My sisters are teachers so they were going on a well-deserved 7 week break to the village. Together the 10 passengers had 22 pieces of luggage which were being pushed on 6 trolleys.We went through a barrage of security checks including one at the front of the terminal which was manned by guards & dogs.
We had been up since 4.30AM because the flight to Popondetta was scheduled for 7AM. However after the rush to get to the terminal, we were told the flight was delayed to 10AM. Boy..oh...boy..what a nightmare!!
We pushed our way through two security checks then a guard announced that all delayed passengers should move out to the back. No way Hose...we did not budge The children found a corner to sit in while the adults clung to the trolleys like honey bee to nectar.
At 8AM we were allowed to move to the check-in counter. After much jostling and heaving, the bags were secured onto the carousel and off they went whilst passengers entered the boarding lounge. Much to our relief all bags arrived at Popondetta safely and the passengers.......? Well, so far their time in the village has been full of joy & laughter with a big celebration planned for Christmas.
Photos taken last year indicate what fun there is in store again this time.