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History


    Adventist Aviation Services (AAS), Goroka, Papua New Guinea has maintained dialogue with AWA since the founding of AWA. Directors of AAS have long sensed the need for expanded flexibility not offered by the denomination, but intentionally built into AWA.

    Air services are required to both maintain and expand mission work in PNG. The country’s population is segmented into more than 800 people groups. These tribes live in a rugged land slightly larger than California with many still unreached language groups. The demand on missions for evangelism is so great that invitations for missionaries to work in a number of areas simply go unanswered.

    As has been demonstrated the world over, gaining independence has not proven to be the utopian experience so many anticipated. Today commercial air service is less available than it was 20 years ago. Roads have disintegrated and disappeared. Communities build airstrips in hope that they will be serviced by air. There are now 650 airstrips, the majority of which are served by mission aviation agencies.

    In the mid 1980's AAS operated four aircraft to service the church. Since that time the SDA church in PNG has grown approximately 300% while the fleet has shrunk to one 26-year old aircraft that was rebuilt while the program was shut down from March 2003 until March 2006. The work of the church nearly ground to a halt in the interior. No one knows for sure how many villagers died while their only connection to the outside world was severed. While the last new aircraft was purchased in 1977, there is hope. Thanks to generous donors and a 13th Sabbath mission offering in 2006, AAS is now taking delivery of its first turbine aircraft, a PAC-750.

    AVGAS is now very difficult to obtain and the cost has risen significantly. Fuel comes in drums shipped into Lae and then carried by truck to Goroka (with prayers that it won't be robbed or the container won't fall off the truck, which is not uncommon). It is then distributed by plane to other strategic places away from home base. JET A is much more available and much cheaper. Other missions based in PNG such as MAF, JAARS, New Tribes, ABWE, etc., are standing in line for Kodiaks and have already purchased Pilatus PC-6’s, Caravans, King Airs, Jet Rangers and other such aircraft just to maintain support to missionaries, bible translators and other workers until the new Kodiaks arrive.