MAF Twin Otter by Kahunapule Michael Johnson via Flickr Creative Commons

Jacksons International Airport

Papua New Guinea’s main international gateway is Jacksons International Airport. Sitting only five miles from the heart of PNG’s capital city, the airport was built in 1975 by the Australian government as an independence gift.

Even today, Jacksons International Airport still doesn’t have a large passenger capacity, and its facilities are relatively simple for a national airport. Air Niugini and PNG Airlines are the two busiest carriers the serve the hub. American visitors will have to make connections with Air Niugini at Hong Kong, Tokyo, Sydney, or Brisbane before reaching PNG. In addition, Virgin Airlines and Qantas Link fly from Brisbane and Cairns respectively.

Two terminals operate at the airport. The Domestic Terminal runs flights through Airlines PNG and Air Niugini to other major destinations within the country, including Rabaul, Mt Hagen, and Madang. The International Terminal handles all other airlines, with international routes offered by both Papua New Guinea carriers.

The international terminal is where most of the shopping and eating facilities are located. In the secure zone, a small duty-free shop can be found, and the Airport Cafè is a nice spot for those looking to grab a beverage or snack. Plenty of souvenir shops are also available for those last-minute gifts.

Overall, Papua New Guinea’s transportation options are quite limited, and onward travel from the airport is no exception. Taxis are available, and are probably the most reliable form of transport from the airport. Car hire is also an option, although tourists need to be aware that outside the city of Port Moresby, getting around is quite difficult. Roads turn into muddy tracks quickly, requiring four-wheel drive vehicles.

Lae Nadzab Airport

The second busiest city in PNG, Lae, has an important domestic airport located some 25 miles from its heart. The airport mostly offers flights from Goroka, Port Moresby, and Mt Hagan, among several other towns and cities in PNG. Air Niugini and Airlines PNG are the only two carriers currently operating from the airport. Formerly, routes to Cairns and Brisbane were offered, but they were discontinued several years ago.

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