First international flight at Suai Airport

Fri. 28 of September of 2018, 23:11h

Today, September 28, the International Airport Commander-in-Chief of the FALINTIL Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão, received its first ever international flight, from Darwin, Australia.

Suai Airport, in the municipality of Covalima, was inaugurated on June 20, 2017 and operates regular domestic flights to and from Dili.

The air link between Darwin and Suai is operated by Northern Oil & Gas Australia (NOGA) for human resource transport operations for oil platforms in the Timor Sea, allowing the company to set up its base of operations in Suai, which will promote the economic development of the region.

The first passengers, Angus Karoll, Director General of NOGA and John McDermott, President of McDermott Aviation, the company that operates the helicopter transport from the airport to the oil platforms, and their delegation, were received at the airport by the Minister for Transport and Communications, José Agustinho da Silva, by the acting Minister of Finance, Sara Lobo Brites, the Secretary of State for National Liberation Combatants Gil da Costa Monteiro 'Oan Soru', the Timor-Leste Consul in Darwin, Francisco Jose Felipe , the President of the Administration of Airports and Air Navigation of Timor-Leste (ANATL EP), Romualdo da Silva, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Civil Aviation Authority of Timor-Leste (AACTL), Sabino Henriques, and the Municipal Administrator of Covalima.

The Director General of NOGA expressed his "enthusiasm to be able to participate in this opportunity" and "to establish his base of operations in this location", which was "for long time a desire of the company", which will allow it to "get much closer" to the oil rigs.

Angus Karoll stated that NOGA "will invest in training Timorese human resources" and that the company intends "to stay in Timor-Leste for a long time, to develop its business in the country and to support the Timorese people."

Angus Karoll also said that "Timorese have been wonderful to Australians" and recalled Timor-Leste's support for Australia during World War II, where tens of thousands of Timorese gave their lives fighting alongside Australians. He said that he is "proud to be able to give something back to the community, working together with Timor-Leste to develop human resources and business with sustainability".

The ANATL President explained that "NOGA flight is not a commercial flight, but an air link to facilitate the company's operations in the Timor Sea and to transport its workers coming from Australia to Suai and from there to the oil rigs".

The Minister of Transport and Communications expressed, on behalf of the Government of Timor-Leste, his “gratitude to Noga for his choice and confidence in operating at this airport” and said, “this is a historic day for the people of Timor-Leste, the community of Suai”, because today “we witnessed the arrival of a direct flight of NOGA from Darwin to the International Airport Commander-in-Chief of the FALINTIL Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão”.

José Agustinho da Silva stressed the "importance of NOGA flights to the national economy and to support the economic growth of the population of the Suai region”. Adding that this air link "could also entice other airlines to operate to Suai for regular transportation, tourism and other purposes”. He also thanked "all entities at the national level and in the municipality of Covalima, including Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak and former President Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão, who strongly supported Noga's request to operate in Suai”.