29 Apr 2004

Australian government backs Qantas over PNG security concerns

6:30 am on 29 April 2004

The Australian Transport Minister is backing the country's biggest airline, in its concerns over poor airport security in Papua New Guinea.

Qantas Airways is reported to have threatened to pull out or end code-share arrangements with Air Niugini unless security is boosted at Jackson International Airport in Port Moresby.

The airline refuses to comment other than to say that it regularly reviews security across the network.

A spokesman for the Transport Minister, John Anderson, says security is not satisfactory and Australia is working cooperatively with PNG on improvements.

The spokesman says Australia has provided four screening machines and staff are being trained in their use now.

The spokesman says the Government backs Qantas over security and would expect to be told if any pull-out was to occur.

However the spokesman says matters have not got to that level yet.

The PNG Government could not be contacted for comment.