Air Niugini (PX, Port Moresby) has announced it resumed services to Kieta in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville on January 8, 2019, following the installation of the Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI) system at the airport.

"The recommencement of jet operations is made possible following the installation of Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI) lights, which are not only a regulatory requirement, but also required under the strict Air Niugini safety standards," the carrier said in a statement.

The carrier previously suspended its services to the airport in July 2017 citing low operational safety. Kieta was initially due to reopen in early December 2018 but the launch of flights was delayed due to the slow pace of necessary improvements.

Air Niugini will serve Kieta 2x weekly with the flights on Tuesday operating directly from Port Moresby to Kieta and onwards to Buka and Rabaul. Services on Fridays will connect Port Moresby first with Rabaul, then Buka and Kieta prior to returning to the capital. All flights will be onboard Fokker 100 aircraft. Previously, Air Niugini deployed Dash 8-400 turboprops to Kieta.

According to the ch-aviation capacity module, rival PNG Air (CG, Port Moresby) serves Kieta with Dash 8-100 equipment, connecting it with Buka, Rabaul, and Port Moresby.

Both Buka and Kieta serve the restive Autonomous Region of Bougainville, also known as the North Salomons, off the eastern shore of Papua. The region is due to vote on its independence in 2019. Buka airport itself came under regulatory scrutiny in December 2018 due to the low level of safety but avoided closure after immediate action had been taken.