By TERENCE ZIRU
A LANDOWNING group in Western Province has threatened to disrupt international flights to Munda International Airport unless monies due to them are paid.
Solomon Airlines operates a weekly flight between Brisbane and Munda.
But disgruntled landowners who were aggrieved by the government’s failure to settle money it owed them have threatened to stop the international flights.
It’s understood landowners where the airport is have allowed their trees and other plants to be cut to clear the flight path for landing.
In return, the Government promised to pay them compensation.
But spokesman Dennis Mamu said despite a letter they’ve written to the Ministry of Communication and Aviation about their outstanding dues many months back, they received no reply.
“We are very disappointed at the way the government has treated us,” Mamu told the Solomon Star.
“We’ve sacrificed our trees to allow for international flights to start here in Munda but look at how the government is treating us?” he said.
Mamu confirmed he and 19 others stormed the Civil Aviation office in Munda this week to express their frustrations.
“Our message to the government is this: if our dues are not settled by the end of this month, no international flights will be allowed into Munda,” he stated.
Mamu explained development of the airport and its flight path are to be done in phases.
It’s understood the first phase of work has been completed and the second phase has already begun.
Mamu said although the ministry’s obligation to them for the first phase of development on the airport was not fulfilled, they’ve allowed the second phase to start to qualify it for international flights.
“That’s a demonstration of our commitment to this project.
“But the government has failed and continues to fail us,” he said.
Another demand submitted through the letter was that all development work be halted until their dues are paid.
“We also demand that the green lights situated on our land be removed immediately by Aviation.
“If they failed, we will remove them.
“The lights are what qualified Munda to receive international flights.
“If we remove them, there’ll be no international flights.”
Another landowner Mathew Vangunu said their investigation showed no payments have been made to their members.
Mamu and Vangunu urged the government to take their case seriously and settle what’s due to them.
When contacted, the Ministry of Communication and Aviation said they’ll issue a statement later.